COA advises Davao against donating P1M to kin of slain SAF troopers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 March) — The Commission on Audit questioned the city’s plan to donate P1 million in educational funds for the families of the 44 Special Action Force troopers who died in the clash in Mamasapano in Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

Speaking at weekly TV show “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on Sunday, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said the COA advised the city government that this was not allowed under COA rules.

Duterte was quick to question the COA decision, adding that the funds would be useful for the kin of the slain police commandos.

If the commission insists on disallowing the government to donate the funds, Duterte said he would resort to asking for donations from four unnamed individuals to raise the P1 million.

“These will have to become public funds,” Duterte said, adding that he would not accept money that would not be made public.

He said the P1 million would be turned over to a foundation that would facilitate the scholarship program for the children of the SAF commandos.

In February, Duterte attended the burial of SPO1 Lover Inocencio in Panabo City.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines was criticized for failing to provide backup but its leadership has since clarified that the SAF coordinated too late, and with too little details.

“Even the AFP said that there was no prior consultation with the military at the time,” Duterte said.

“Even I, even the military, even any cigarette vendor knows that no one should enter that area without support,” he said.

However, the mayor said he’s not supporting the calls for an independent international body to investigate the incident. (MindaNews)