Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirade against the agency, the Commission on Audit (COA) is now drawing flak from the government’s executive department for publishing its audit reports.
Netizens, however, have rallied behind the state auditors. According to the brand monitoring site, brandmentions.com, on Thursday (August 19) alone, the hashtag #ProtectCOA reached more than 220,000.
The hashtag first gained traction on Tuesday, following a congressional hearing when COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo reaffirmed his agency’s commitment to its constitutional duty of ensuring accountability of public resources and preventing unconscionable expenditures of government funds and properties.
“Tuloy pa rin kami (we will continue), we have a constitutional mandate, we have to comply with that. You know, I do have a force of about 9,000 people in COA who are very dedicated, very professional, and you know, who are committed to do the work that they do,” Aguinaldo said.
Over the past few weeks, COA has been making headlines in the past few weeks for flagging government transactions. The news first blew up after the agency first reported “deficiencies” in the health department’s handling of some P67-billion ($1.33) COVID-19 funds that led to “missed opportunities” in the government’s pandemic response. Since then, state auditors have flagged several other agencies including the Department of Health (DOH), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Here are a few of the viral tweets that poured in supporting the agency.
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno said that the auditors should be praised and not punished for what they did.
COA auditors should be praised instead of punished for flagging and reporting to the public. The President seems to be forgetting our own Constitution. COA should not be stopped from doing its job, which is to protect our people’s hard-earned money. Kakampi ng COA ang taumbayan. https://t.co/OYIkToFSpt
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) August 17, 2021
Listing down agencies and officials who were criticized for simply doing their job, Twitter user @theklmanuel joked that the administration probably “hates proper function and common sense.”
They don’t want CHR to protect human rights.
They don’t want OVP to attend cabinet meetings.
They hated when Vico Sotto responded to the pandemic with some sense.
They’re questioning why COA issued its audit findings.
This administration hates proper function and common sense.
— K Manuel (@theklmanuel) August 17, 2021
2019 Bar topnotcher Mae Diane Azores also weighed in on the issue.
Under our Constitution, COA is an independent body whose main duty is to safeguard public properties and funds. It is expected to report its findings and provide recommendations without fear or favor. To disregard its authority is to disregard the Constitution. #ProtectCOA
— Diane♥️✊ (@MaeDianeAzores) August 17, 2021
Socio-civic group iMPACT Leadership made a brilliant pun about the COA “flags.”
Maraming salamat, COA for upholding transparency and accountability! 💪
RAISE YOUR FLAG! 😉🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/x3VHLSt1rO
— iMPACT Leadership (@iMPACTPH2019) August 17, 2021
Comic artist Trantadong Kalbo made a strip alluding to DOH’s overpriced laptops.
Jailed Senator Leila de Lima implied that only a thief would be angry at the auditors.
Magnanakaw lang ang galit sa COA.
— Leila de Lima (@SenLeiladeLima) August 18, 2021
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.
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