Appointments of Maria Pulido-Tan and Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit : Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Communications Secretary Ramon A. Carandang:
On the appointments of Maria Pulido-Tan as Chairman ad interim and of Heidi Mendoza as Commissioner ad interim of the Commission on Audit
Press Working Room, 1/F New Executive Building, MalacaƱang, Manila
April 5, 2011; 15:30 hrs. EST
SECRETARY RAMON A. CARANDANG: We would like to announce two appointments today. The first appointment is Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan. She is being appointed Chairman ad interim Commission on Audit, for a term expiring, February 2nd, 2015. We’d also like to make an announcement of another appointment: ad interim Commissioner Commission on Audit, Ms. Heidi Mendoza, replacing Evelyn San Buenaventura for a term expiring, February 15, 2018. Grace Tan was Undersecretary of Finance until 2005 for revenue operations. Heidi Mendoza was Career Officer of the Commission on Audit, and as many as you know, she testified in the senate hearing on the Garcia Plea Bargain Deal. So, those are the announcements that we have for now.
Q: Why was Miss Tan chosen for that position? What made her more qualified than the others?
CARANDANG: Well, she’s a lawyer; she’s had accounting experience, so she fits the bill, and she already had government experience also, so she doesn’t have to—medyo narrow lang ‘yung learning curve niya.
Q: [On the possibility of any technicality on Heidi Mendoza's appointment?]
CARANDANG: Wala namang technicality but we wanted to have a mixed people who first of all were in synched with our vision for good governance. We also wanted people who had a mix of skill— administrative, operational, and also investigative—which both of these two have. So, we think that they are both highly qualified and they’ll make very good team at the helm of COA.
Q: Sir, what are your expectations from these two new [appointees]?
CARANDANG: Well, we expect them to do the duties of COA in the proper manner, and we believe they have a qualification to serve their posts.
Q: [On the merits of Heidi Mendoza for supporting the Administration’s anti-corruption campaign]
CARANDANG: Well, I think Ms. Mendoza, as we’ve seen has proven that she is very serious about anti-corruption, and we believe that as COA will continue the efforts for good governance.
Q: Puwede pa po siyang mag-testify kahit na Commissioner na siya [Heidi Mendoza]?
CARANDANG: I’m not sure. Well, I have to ask the lawyers whether she would able to or not. I don’t know if there anymore hearings anyway on the Senate. So, we’ll have to ask for an opinion on that from the lawyers.
Q: [Did the President consider Heidi Mendoza for the COA Chairman?]
CARANDANG: I think she was considered also for Chair, but we wanted a balance to people who have proven administrative and operational experience which Grace Tan has, and of course, the investigative ability and proven anti-corruption record of Heidi Mendoza. So, all of those factors went in to the mix.
Q: But that position was never offered to her—‘yung COA Chairmanship—ng President?
CARANDANG: I don’t think it was offered to her. She was considered and when they talk about they discuss the possibility of the COA Commissioner or Chairman but nothing specific at that time.
Q: Si dating Foreign Affairs Secretary [Alberto] Romulo was interested daw na maging COA Chairman. Bibigyan pa po ba siya ng position?
CARANDANG: I’m not aware if he will be given any position.
Q: [On who the relayed the information of Heidi Mendoza of her appointment?]
CARANDANG: I was not the one who relayed the appointment to her although hindi naman yata surprise ‘yan kasi matagal nang pinag-uusapan ‘yung posibleng appointment ni Heidi Mendoza. So, I don’t think that she would have been surprised of the announcement.
Q: Is Grace Tan a CPA [Certified Public Accountant] lawyer?
CARANDANG: I’ll bring the resume down as soon as we get it. She does apparently have legal and accounting experience.