The Commission on Audit, to prove and maintain what it calls neutrality, has suspended the creation of fraud and special audit teams and the conduct of audits ahead of the campaign period for the 2019 midterm elections.
COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, along with Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc, issued the suspension order via Resolution 2018-031 signed last Oct. 2 taking effect over a seven-month period from Oct. 11 to May 13, 2019.
The commission said the move was deemed necessary to isolate itself and its auditors from the issue of politics.
“[T]he Commission receives voluminous complaints and/requests for special/fraud audit against candidates in the national and local elections, including nominees of party-list groups. It is necessary for the Commission on Audit, as an independent constitutional body, to uphold its political neutrality,” its order read.
COA would no longer entertain any complaints or requests for fraud or special audits that were filed on the day of the filing of certificates of candidacy against local and national candidates, including party-list nominees, in the 2019 midterm polls.
The initial assessment or evaluation of requests fraud/special audits and other preliminary procedures are not covered by the suspension.
COA clarified that fraud/special audits that were already underway before Oct. 11 shall proceed unhampered.
“This resolution shall in no way curtail or impair the regular functions of the offices, auditing units and audit teams of the Commission, not otherwise affected by it, which they shall continue to perform in accordance with duly approved work programs,” the resolution stated.