BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The Commission on Audit (COA) report on hiring by Mayor Rodrig Duterte of more than 11,000 contract workers was merely an “audit observation” and not finding of anomaly.
The issue had already been resolved with City Hall noting the observation and complying with the recommendation of the COA, said Erwin Alparaque, head of the City Hall Human Resources Management Office (HRMO).
Alparaque said it was normal for COA to issue “audit observation” on local govermment unit spending as part of regular auditing process but the observations are not necessarily findings of irregularities.
A report posted in rappler.com on June 16, 2015, headlined “COA questions Duterte’s 11,000 contractual workers,” said ” State auditors are questioning Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s hiring of 11,246 contractual workers in 2014, which cost the city government P708 million.”
The report hinted irregularity in the hiring of the workers.
Doubting the necessity and regularity of 4,754 job orders – all for the city mayor’s office – the Commission on Audit (COA) pointed out that Davao’s lack of clear policy in hiring people fosters patronage, said the report.
The Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, the ruling local party of Mayor Duterte, shot down the report as part of smear campaign aimed to derail Mayor Duterte’s possible entry into the 2016 presidential race.
The publication of the COA report, which was not bylined and without any attribution to an officer or the auditing team of the government audit body, followed reports that drug cartels are combining forces to stop the presidential bid of Mayor Duterte who is known for his strong stand against corruption and criminality particularly drug dealing.
Although he has yet to announce his bid for the Malacanang top post, Mayor Duterte is looming as a strong contender to the presidency, landing third in surveys for presidential preference behind front runner Vice President Jejomar Binay and second placer
Senator Grace Poe.
Reports had said that drug lords are set to unleash a three-pronged demolition job against Mayor Duterte that includes funding his rivals in the presidential race, black propaganda or assassination.
The publication of the COA report maliciously hinting corruption in the Duterte administration could be the first salvo of a series of black propaganda that would be hurled at Duterte in the coming days, said an official of the Duterte party who begged he not be named for lack of authority to speak on the issue.