New COA Chairperson Jose Calida assumes office

Newly-appointed Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Jose C. Calida formally assumed office as Chairperson on Monday, 4 July 2022. He was warmly welcomed by COAns led by Commissioner Mario G. Lipana.

In a briefing with senior COA officials, Chairperson Calida assured the careful scrutiny of government accounts and warned auditors against shenanigans. “COA auditors should correctly scrutinize and carefully inspect accounts. But be careful. I am warning anybody in COA that if there are shenanigan and mischievous activities, I will boot them out. But those who are earnest in their work will remain in this Office,” he said.

Chairperson Calida invoked the same “win, win, win” mantra of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for the Commission, reminding everyone that the OSG had won all cases filed in the Supreme Court during his stint as Solicitor General. He also vowed to reward valiant COA officials and those who work hard.

Prior to his appointment by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Chairperson Calida served as Solicitor General under former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte since July 2016. He served as Undersecretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) from 2001 to 2004. As DOJ Undersecretary, he was in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation, Witness Protection, Security and Benefits Program, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, DOJ National Task Force on Terrorism and Internal Security, and DOJ Task Force on Financial Fraud and Money Laundering. He was also head of the DOJ Action Center which extends free counseling and assistance to the public, especially to indigents.

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Clarification on the use of the phrase ‘Highest COA Audit Rating’

Given the misconception that the use of the phrase “highest COA audit rating” may cause and its potential impact to decision makers and the public, the Commission on Audit (COA) would like to clarify again that an audit opinion should not be viewed as a rating, score or grade, with ranking of lowest to highest.

An audit opinion pertains only to the financial audit conducted regularly by COA auditors on the agencies within its jurisdiction. It may be unmodified or modified, depending on whether an agency’s financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework.

An unmodified opinion (also referred to as unqualified opinion) is issued when the auditor concludes that the financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework. Meanwhile, a modified opinion – includes qualified, adverse and disclaimer of opinion - is issued when the auditor concludes that, based on the audit evidence obtained, the financial statements as a whole are not free from material misstatement; or is unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to conclude that the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement.

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International environment audit body features COA’s Citizen Participatory Audit

INTOSAI WGEA published in its website an experience sharing report on COA’s CPA approach.

The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) published an experience sharing report prepared by the Commission on Audit (COA) on its Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) in the context of environmental auditing.

INTOSAI WGEA commended the COA for its innovative approach to environmental auditing, involving citizens in taking part in the collection and analysis of data, writing reports, drafting inquiries, and generally acting as an integral part of auditing work.

The INTOSAI is the professional organization of SAIs in countries that belong to the United Nations or its specialized agencies and is an internationally recognized leader in public sector auditing. The WGEA’s key goals are to increase the expertise in environmental auditing globally and enhance environmental governance with high-quality contribution and visibility. According to INTOSAI WGEA, "the organization is very proud of the SAI Philippines output as this new innovative approach on environmental auditing involves the participation of citizens in audits and is in line with the Work Package 6 on experience sharing and capacity building of the INTOSAI WGEA Work Plan 2020-2022."

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