Why throw a tantrum over COA findings?

By Atty. Anfred P. Panes, LLM

It is just fair to remind public officials, especially those in the national government, that public office is a public trust. This is enshrined in Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. In conjunction thereto, the same Constitution and the Administrative Code of the Philippines mandates that the general jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit (COA) is to examine, audit, and settle all funds, property, and expenses pertaining to the government.

Hence, the COA’s act of flagging the controversial use of public funds is never bereft of merit. It is its sworn duty to do so. It is a legally sound exercise of its functional jurisdiction as one of the independent Constitutional Commissions created no less than by the highest law of the land – the Philippine Constitution.

It is simple. HINDI WINARAK NG COA ANG DANGAL NG DOH. It was the Department’s own acts, orchestrated by its own officials, which led to the demise of their integrity in public service. Their sneaky and cunning white-collar conduct, which was merely exposed by the COA, led to DOH’s steady and rapid decline in the public eye. In doing their Constitutionally-mandated duty, the COA merely shed some light and exposed their questionable transactions which, ultimately, is a matter of public concern.

It is elementary that taxes are the lifeblood of the nation. Thus, every tax-paying individual has the right to know where their money goes. Our people deserve transparency and accountability. Our people deserve no less.

Serving in public office entails the inevitable string of public criticisms. There is nothing new to that.  These public officials of national stature need to conduct themselves professionally at all times. They should not shy away from public criticism. They should act maturely and accept criticism with grace, instead of deflecting and resorting to emotional responses. No “barilan” needed. No ostentation of power; no drama; no tantrums. Our officials should bear in mind that these highly-emotional responses raise a suspicion of guilt.

Let COA do it’s job. Let the official and independent records speak for themselves. Anyway, one need not worry if one has nothing to hide.