House won't impeach COA chief
MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has no plan whatsoever to initiate an impeachment process against Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan.
“There is absolutely no truth to speculations that the House wants to impeach the COA chief,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.
He was commenting on reports quoting Tan herself that she has been receiving text messages threatening her with impeachment.
She said she was not worried about the threats. “I am saddened that they might again use government money to get back at me. If they have real issues, fine,” she said.
The COA has come out with a report of more than 400 pages on the use of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of senators and congressmen between 2007 and 2009.
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Party, admitted there are many lawmakers who are angry over what they consider glaring errors in COA’s audit on PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
“But I don’t think they’re large enough to impeach. I don’t think such move will prosper,” Sarmiento said. “And I have not received any information to that effect.”
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., an administration stalwart, also said many House members, including those who had nothing to do with the alleged pork barrel scam, were vexed over Tan’s “dramatic disclosure on TV” of the results of the audit because it tarnished the image of the chamber.
“I don’t see any grounds for impeaching her. Yes, many are angry at her because it has damaged the image of the House when only a few are accused in the alleged scam,” Barzaga said in a telephone interview.
“If there are constitutional violations or errors, then we must identify the charges against her if there are any,” he said.
“We must instead express our appreciation to her for having the guts and courage to conduct the audit and make public its results,” he said.
The lawmaker said Tan’s critics and her supporters should expect her to release soon the results of the audit of agencies in the judiciary and the executive branch under the present administration.
Barzaga warned that filing an impeachment complaint against the COA chief was “dangerous” as it could have a chilling effect on the work of the audit agency.