Manila, Philippines – A party-list lawmaker has formally asked the Commission on Audit (CoA) to conduct a full audit of the concession system between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and two private ﬁrms, saying that serious irregularities in the implementation of the contract have led to imposition of excessive water rates and “illegal, excessive, extravagant, and unconscionable” public expenditures and use of government property.
Bagong Henerasyon party list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has sent a referral letter to CoA Chairperson Gracia M. Pulido-Tan asking her to conduct an omnibus audit on the concession agreement signed in 1997 by MWSS with Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water Co. Inc.
Herrera-Dy urged the State audit agency to extend its constitutional mandate to “exercise any and all administrative and investigatory functions” in looking into the “whole range of systematic violations committed by the signatories of the agreement.”
She said ﬁnancial transactions and performance of the MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) should also be placed under audit scrutiny.
The appeal for full audit is in line with the “positive and constructive reception” of the privilege speech delivered by Herrera-Dy on September 5, in which she enumerated violations committed by the key players of the implemented water concession plan for Metro Manila and neighboring localities.
Herrera-Dy explained that under the Constitution and CoA’s rules and resolutions, the audit agency has “exclusive original jurisdiction” to audit and prevent irregularities in public fund expenditure and use of government properties.
Enumerating 14 valid reasons to support a full audit of the whole water concession system, HerreraDy also said that CoA is clothed with authority to put in place internal control system, including temporary or special pre-audit, in agencies where it is found “inadequate.”
“CoA is legally authorized to conduct the audit to protect public welfare and safeguard public funds,” she stated. (Ben R. Rosario)