This is with reference to the news item that appeared in your publication on January 23, 2022 entitled “COA grills QC on P479M in purchases”.
The second paragraph of this so-called news item reads, quote, “In a new report published on the COA website, state auditors said the Quezon City government’s purchases violated the Procurement Law and its implementing regulations, as well as accounting rules.”
We are aware that your publication based this entire report on a press statement provided by the office of Rep. Mike Defensor. Unfortunately, it appears that you have been remiss in your journalistic responsibility to validate the allegations included in the statement. If you did, you have certainly discovered that the Manila Standard was taken for a ride.
First, the title: the COA certainly did not “grill QC on P479M in purchases.” A short portion (with emphasis on the word “portion”) of the report in question merely pointed out that certain payments “were not supported with complete documentation” thus the validity and regulatory of the transactions “could not be ascertained” at the time of writing. Essentially, the COA was requesting for more documentation, which the QC LGU submitted later on. After submitting these complete documents, the COA awarded QC with the highest audit score that the city has ever received in its entire history. Was your publication aware of this? Majority of the country’s leading broadsheets and news sites carried this remarkable achievement.
Simply stated, your January 23, 2022 article reported what was a mere section of a COA report, as if it were the entire thesis of the full report. Perhaps that can be dodged by hiding behind “creative liberty” or “editorial license,” but the fact that I am referring to these events in hindsight should already provide a clue leading to my next point.
There is no such thing as a “new report published on the COA website” as your article claims. Apart from cherry-picking items without any context, Rep. Defensor’s statement is based on a 2020 COA report. It’s not only very old news, but it was further twisted to become fake news. I believe that the informal industry term for this is “nakuryente kayo.”
We trust that you shall be more discerning next time.
PIA ROCES MORATO
QC Mayor Joy Belmonte