Pimentel Warns COA Of Impeachment

MANILA, Philippines --- Re-electionist Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel Jr. yesterday said that the senators and former congressman implicated in an alleged dubious pork barrel spending can pursue the impeachment of Commission on Audit officials if they are found to have violated the Constitution.

Pimentel said he also supported the call of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for the disclosure of the full COA report claiming that he, together with Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, allocated a huge part of their pork barrel share to a non-government organization which lacks qualifications in receiving funds from government.

COA said at least P195 million in priority development assistance funds went to the Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc., which government auditors claimed to be non-existent.

Pimentel said the timing of the release of the adverse COA report could not be questioned, noting that that is the normal process of audit in the country.

However, he pointed out that the three senators should have received notices from COA calling their attention to the alleged irregular disbursement.

"Ang proseso ng COA is that they ask first the person involved to refute or justify what the audit findings say. I don't know if that was followed," he said.

Enrile, one of the leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance senatorial slate, has called on COA to disclose its audit findings and explain the parameters and scope of their review.