The Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman strengthened anew their joint anti-corruption initiatives to ensure fast and successful investigation and prosecution of graft and corruption cases.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to renew their agencies’ collaborative efforts to pursue, as a shared responsibility, the effective evaluation, audit, investigation, prosecution and monitoring of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Cases on 28 February 2017 at the Edsa Shangri-La Manila, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City. The project is supported by the USAID Integrity for Investments Initiative (i3).

Chairperson Aguinaldo said the program is a continuation of the existing partnership between COA and OMB in fighting corruption. “It is one step forward if we want to speed up cases involving high value and high profile cases that require extraordinary attention because of the amounts involved,” Chairperson Aguinaldo observed.

Ombudsman Carpio Morales thanked COA for its cooperation and symbiotic relationship with the Office of the Ombudsman. “We exert so much effort in investigating cases involving fraud and corruption related offenses. We expect to be faster in resolving cases to meet the expectations of the people,” the Ombudsman said.

Under the Guidelines on Joint Investigations, the JITs shall investigate fraud audit-related complaints or reports arising from the same or closely-related transactions or acts involving at least P100 million; graft and corruption cases investigated by Congress and other JIT cases imbued with public interest regardless of the amount involved.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales proudly show off the MOA renewing their agencies' joint anti-corruption initiatives.

The Focal Persons, COA Assistant Commissioner Alexander B. Juliano and Deputy Special Prosecutor Mary Susan Guillermo of the Office of the Ombudsman, described the highlights of the MOA which include institutionalizing a “JIT Priority Lane”, undertaking joint capability building activities, requesting other law enforcement agents to assist them in the performance of their duties and public reporting of cases, among others.

The reconstituted JIT shall focus on new cases while cases under the previous MOA will be monitored to track status. The COA and the OMB have previously entered into joint investigation agreements in 2010 and 2012. #