COA: Tabloid report on Asean hosting fund ‘fake news’

WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK. Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member-states, led by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, join hands during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN leaders' summit in Manila. The ASEAN leaders will be joined by the UN and EU chiefs and dialogue partners like US President Donald Trump next week as Manila host various ASEAN meetings. (from left) Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar's State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President Duterte, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. AFP PHOTO

THE Commission on Audit (COA) said Friday that a tabloid report saying it is questioning P647.11 million spent by the government for the hosting of the Asean 50th anniversary celebration and summit last year is false.

The report titled “P647.11 milyon hinahanap ng COA” was published by Hataw in its May 9, 2018 issue.

However, Edna Salaguban, COA Supervising Auditor for Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in a letter dated May 10, 2018 addressed to PCOO management, said the 2017 Annual Audit Report on PCOO is still undergoing review, hence the false news “could not have been lifted from [the] audit report.”

COA has yet to issue a final audit report.

“As far as the COA-PCOO Audit Team is concerned, we do not have any knowledge on an ongoing investigation of a P647.11-million fund,” Salaguban said in the letter.

Reacting to the false report, PCOO Undersecretary Noel Puyat on Thursday said the PCOO management is committed to transparency and accountability.

Puyat said, “We are confident that all our official transactions have been above-board.”

“In fact, COA has given the PCOO a clean bill represented by certifications of ‘no disallowances’ for the past six audit quarters,” he said.

p: wjg