COA chair: Jinggoy's speech vindicates us

MANILA, Philippines – Sen Jinggoy Estrada may have criticized the way the Commission on Audit (COA) conducted its special report on the pork barrel scam in his privilege speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, September 25.

But COA chairperson Grace Pulido Tan said the senator, in fact, vindicated COA by not making any denials. 

"Wala siyang di-neny sa aming findings, wala siyang sinabi na nagkamali kami sa sinabi namin sa aming PDAF, wala, nothing. For me that's great, it's a vindication for us na siya mismo na natukoy doon sa audit ng PDAF ay walang reklamo tungkol dun sa lumabas na findings. Ang kanyang nirereklamo lang, yun nga, may selectivity," Tan said on the sidelines of the COA budget hearing on the House floor. 

(He did not deny our findings. He did not say that we made a mistake on the PDAF, nothing. For me, that's great. It's a vindication for us that he himself who was identified in the PDAF audit has no complaints about the findings. His only complaint is that there's selectivity.) 

And while Estrada slammed Tan for taking frequent travels abroad, Tan revealed Estrada gave her a call while she was in New York in July. 

"It was a favor," Tan said. She declined to say what the favor was. 

In his speech, Estrada questioned why he, along with two other senators charged with plunder, were being "singled out" when other administration-allied lawmakers were also tagged in the COA report on the PDAF misuse. 

Citing the COA's report, Estrada named House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II as one of those found to have irregularities in his use of pork barrel funds. 

By acknowledging that legislators allied with the administration were also included in the report, Tan said Estrada himself disproved his complaint that the report was biased and selective. 

"He himself proved, by citing extensively from our COA report, that we were not selective, not just opposition," Tan said. "He himself said there are other lawmakers tagged in the report who are not from the opposition," Tan added. - Rappler.com