Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., a ranking official of the National Unity Party (NUP), has lauded the Commission on Audit for conducting a special report detailing the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) over the 2007 to 2009 period.
Barzaga, who represents Cavite’s fourth district, also urged his fellow lawmakers to give the COA a chance to correct clerical errors in its Special Audit Report rather than focus on these mistakes and glossing over the accurate results of its study.
Instead of criticizing her, COA commissioner Grace Pulido-Tan should even be praised for leading the agency in conducting the special audit on the PDAF, Barzaga said.
“She’s just a bearer of bad news. It was a simple case of clerical error. The amount involved exceeds billions of pesos, thousands of transactions covering a period of three-years. Therefore, because of the magnitude of the COA audit taking into consideration the voluminous documents, it is not unlikely that clerical errors might be committed in the course of the examination,” Barzaga said.
Barzaga was referring to errors reported by the media in the COA Special Audit Report showing former Compostela Valley Representative and now Vice Governor “Way Kurat” Zamora as having received P3.1 billion in PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009.
The Department of Budget and Management, however, clarified that the P3 billion wrongly attributed to Zamora was actually the amount of fund releases for road maintenance projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways in 2007.
The DBM also clarified that the “Luis Abalos” in the list of lawmakers with PDAF allocations referred to in COA special audit was, in fact, Mandaluyong Rep. Benhur Abalos.