COA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan shows the COA report detailing abuses of pork (library photo)
COMMISSION ON AUDIT chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan brushed aside threats to safety apparently leveled at COA officers and personnel after unidentified gunmen fired shots at the COA head office early Wednesday morning.
In a statement, the feisty COA head declared that the shooting incident will not stop the COA from continuing in its mandate to investigate and recommend the prosecution of erring public officials.
News reports quote witnesses as saying that gunmen fired several rounds at the COA building at around 6 a.m. Wednesday, two hours before the start of regular working hours. It was not clear if any officials were in the building at the time.
The bullets smashed through a glass pane of COA Assistant Director Nilda Plaras facing Commonwealth Avenue. No one was reported injured.
The COA had recently released a report detailing irregularities in the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) otherwise known as the pork barrel from the years 2007 to 2009. The COA report was in part the basis for the filing of charges against several political personalities by the Office of the Ombudsman.
At the same time the COA had previously announced it was going to make public its findings on a probe into the use of P24 billion in Malampaya Funds. The Fund is the royalty from the Malampaya gas project off Palawan, and is managed by the Department of Finance.
Pulido-Tan refused to speculate if the shooting incident was related to the recent COA findings on the pork barrel, or the planned release of the findings on the Malampaya Fund. She said the body does not want to preempt the police investigation into the matter.
“In any case, we will not allow this incident to cow us into silence nor defer us from faithfully discharging our constitutional duty,” she said in a statement to the press. “We owe it to God and the Filipino people.”
“Please pray for the safety of every man and woman in the Commission and for continued courage and integrity,” she added.