Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano pushed Tuesday his proposal to open the Senate books for people's audit despite Senate's decision to allow the Commission on Audit (COA) to examine its financial records.
Cayetano filed Senate Resolution No. 934, calling for the Senate "to lead by example" by authorizing the conduct of a parallel audit of its budget accounts by a private auditing firm and the COA with a mandate to examine all its pertinent documents "for transparency and accountability."
In media interview, Cayetano said there is no legal impediment for the Senate paying the independent auditing firm to conduct parallel audit with the COA.
"Let me tell you, there is no moral, administrative or legal impediment for the Senate paying it," Cayetano said.
Last Monday, some of the senators agreed with the stand of the COA that it has been granted by the Constitution the power, authority and duty to COA to examine all accounts of the government.
"According to the Constitution, to determine the scope of the audit is exclusive to them but to audit is not exclusive to them," Cayetano said.
Cayetano explained just like in the past when the Senate allotted funds to investigate big personalities, the Senate can allot part of its funds to get private auditing firms to audit the Senate funds.
"We're doing it to show to the people that an institution which they trust can be trusted. And if they violated law, file a case and show to people that no one is above the law whether you are Senate president or senator," Cayetano said.
Cayetano, however, agreed with his colleagues that between private auditing firm and the COA, the findings of the government auditors are 'binding'.
"It is clear that COA is the official and legal but remember there is grave abuse of discretion," Cayetano said.
The minority leader added that if the private firm finds something wrong and the COA doesn't, "we can still bring it to the court or Ombudsman."