MANILA - Malacañang remained confident that the Commission on Audit (COA) would conduct a fair validation of the purported list of beneficiaries in the pork barrel scam despite chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan's bid to become a Supreme Court associate justice.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said COA is an independent body and would not bow down to the whims of the executive department, amid allegations that the Palace is sanitizing the list furnished by alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
"The COA is an independent constitutional body… and it needs to be independent from the executive," Coloma said in Filipino during an interview over state-run dzRB on Saturday.
Coloma also said it is not fair to assume that the COA would not be objective in validating Napoles' list just because Tan was appointed by the President.
Coloma said COA has released its special audit on the transactions involving the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Funds which helped in the case against government officials involved in the scam.
"Kaya dapat lang siguro kilalanin 'yung institutional integrity ng COA na hindi naman nababahiran dahil sa pagkakaroon ng appointing power ng Pangulo (I think the COA needs to be recognised for its institutional integrity which is not tainted by the President's appointing power)," Coloma said.
The Palace official added that if ever Tan becomes appointed in the Supreme Court, it is because of her "qualifications" and "record" for her to be shortlisted by the high court.
"It is only fair to be objective in recognising public institutions like COA and its leaders, staff and employees who work hard to make their duty fair and honest," Coloma added in Filipino.