COA contributes to development of SAIs’ handbook on budget credibility of governments

Commission on Audit Assistant Commissioner Cora Lea A. Dela Cruz and Mr. Paul Jonel J. Pollicar (9th and 10th from left, front row) of the Professional and Institutional Development Sector join colleagues from participating Supreme Audit Institutions of Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Jamaica, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America (USA), and Zambia, the Department of Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the International Budget Partnership during the first day of the in-person review meeting held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA. || (Photo credits: DPIDG/UNDESA)

“Budgets are generally considered to be ’credible’ when governments implement their revenue and spending plans as budgeted. The ability of a government to meet its revenue and expenditure targets during a financial year determines the credibility of the budget approved by the legislature.” - Department of Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the International Budget Partnership

Commission on Audit (COA) officials and personnel attended the review meeting for the development of the handbook on Supreme Audit Institutions’ (SAIs) contribution to strengthening budget credibility through external audits held both virtually and in person at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on 14-17 June 2022.

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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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