VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Mike Defensor wrongly claims ‘new’ COA report flagged ‘validity’ of QC’s P479-M COVID-19 relief goods


AnaKalusugan party-list Rep. Michael “Mike” Defensor, a candidate for mayor of Quezon City, claimed that a “new” Commission on Audit (COA) report “questioned the validity” of P479-million worth of COVID-19 relief goods procured in 2020.

This is false.


In a Jan. 23 press release, Defensor, who has been throwing the same allegations since September 2021, said:

“In a new report published on the COA website, state auditors said the Quezon City government’s purchases violated the Procurement Law and its implementing regulations, as well as accounting rules.”

Source: Mike Defensor Official Facebook Page, Media Release (Archive), Jan. 23, 2022


According to the agency’s database, the COA annual audit report, which Defensor cited, was published on its website on July 19, 2021, or eight months ago.

The COA report did not say it found violations of procurement laws in the transactions. In fact, lawyer Resurreccion Quieta, COA’s state auditor for Quezon City, gave the local government unit (LGU) an “unmodified opinion” for 2020, the highest rating the city has received at least in the past 10 years.

COA’s financial audit manual notes unmodified opinions are given if the reviewed financial statements are “free from material misstatements” and are compliant with accounting standards.


In the observation and recommendations of its 2020 audit report, the agency recommended that the Quezon City LGU submit all necessary documents to confirm the validity and regularity of the transaction under question.

Pia Morato, the spokesperson of Mayor Joy Belmonte, has refuted Defensor’s claim that anomalies riddle the LGU’s financial statements.

“Within a matter of weeks, the QC LGU submitted all supporting documents pertaining [to] the P479 million. No violations were cited and the section was written as a request rather than a reprimand,” explained Morato in a statement posted on her Facebook account on Jan. 25.


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Mike Defensor Official Facebook Page, Media Release, Jan. 23, 2022, Defensor claims overpricing in QC food packs; LGU calls it ‘propaganda’, Sept. 3, 2021

GMA News Online, Mike Defensor hits ‘overpriced’ QC grocery packs; exec says purchases got COA nod, Sept. 3, 2021

Mike Defensor Official Facebook Page, DEFENSOR TO QUIT POLITICS IF P690-MILLION FOOD PACKS NOT OVERPRICED, Sept. 22, 2021

Commission on Audit, Local Government Units, Accessed Jan. 27, 2022

Commission on Audit, Auditor’s Report, May 17, 2021

Commission on Audit, Financial Audit Manual, Accessed Jan. 27, 2022

Commission on Audit, Annual Audit Report (Quezon City), July 19, 2021

Pia Morato Official Facebook Page, Pia Roces-Morato, Spokesperson of Mayor Joy Belmonte, decries…, Jan. 25, 2022


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)