The Palace has done it again. As reported by Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Jornalism, for the second straight year, the Commission on Audit reports several unliquidated and irregular transactions allegedly entered into by the Palace in 2007. This is the same scenario in my final Reporter’s Notebook story last December (final, because I had left the station soon after), in which we detailed the unliquidated expenses at the Office of the President in 2006.
What I particularly remember about this story — aside from being my last Reporter’s Notebook story — were the complaints raced by Palace officials themselves. To cut the long story short, there were complaints about the objectivity and treatment of the story. These have been answered, but let me raise some quick points once more to set some matters straight:
- Aside from what was said in the story, Palace officials had refused to give any set interviews regarding the story. By doing so, it had virtually waived its right to be heard. Still, following ethical standards, objectivity is rightfully maintained. The Palace, however, had made a general denial later on, as you will see.
- The treatment. The story is not meant to be a comparison of the Office of the President’s expenses versus those of the ordinary Juan dela Cruz. It is just a springboard for the story. And it is the principle of control in expenses that it being brought across.
Still, after much of the complaints and the brouhaha, nothing clear or concrete has been done about the issue. After all, no branch of government and no agency has really acted on the COA report. No investigations from the Senate on this one.
And so, not surprisingly, the same irregularities have happened again.
Just like other stories on anomalies, while the Palace has been very quick at blaming the media for airing these reports, it has again failed — neglected — to act on the issues themselves. And so, the problem continues and worsens.
Again, this is lamentable. I had said this in my similar report and I will raise the same question again. It is the Palace that implements laws on government transactions and expenses, but what does a country do when the Palace itself breaks these very regulations? Just complain against reportage? And to think the Palace brags about its quick response to corruption!
Will the Palace bark on the wrong tree again?