POLICE: GUNSHOTS FIRED AT COA MAIN OFFICE / COA CHIEF: SHOOTING WON'T SILENCE US
 

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani - Gunshots were allegedly fired at the Commission on Audit (COA) main office in Quezon City on Wednesday morning, a police official said.

Authorities recovered two bullet slugs at the office of COA Assistant Director Minda Planas, Quezon City Police District Senior Superintendent Richard Albano said in a phone patch interview on ANC.

He said they received a report past 8 a.m. that there was a broken glass window in the COA office and they later discovered the bullet slugs.

Four gunshots were reportedly heard around 6 a.m., according to the police official.

"Ang impression natin: may dumaan, pinaputukan yung building," Albano said on the ANC interview.

Albano said they are now getting closed-circuit television footages of the incident.

He said there is also a probable witness.

Albano did not mention the possible motive behind the incident that they are looking into.

The alleged gunfire at the COA main office comes amid the ongoing probe on the alleged pork barrel scam that involves lawmakers and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

The COA had released a special audit report that revealed irregularities in the use of pork barrel from 2007 to 2009.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Bullet holes on COA building caused by stray bullets, police say By Jeannette I. Andrade Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:49 pm | Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

MANILA—Bullet holes on the windows of the Commission on Audit building in Quezon City that fuelled speculation they were meant to scare the agency in its continuing audit of legislators’ pork barrel funds may have likely been caused by stray bullets fired during a shooting incident nearby early Wednesday morning, police said.

Quezon City Police District director Chief Supt. Richard Albano told the Inquirer that the discovery of the bullet holes on the second-floor windows of the COA building on Commonwealth Avenue was reported to the Batasan Hills police station at around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Police Officer 1 Jason Tolentino, a radio operator at the QCPD Batasan Hills station, said he received the information from a patrol unit.

“Our policeman on the field initially said that he was not sure if the windows had holes because stones had been thrown at them or if they had been caused by a strafing,” he told the Inquirer.

Albano said that when policemen were sent to the COA building to look into the matter, the investigators found a slug among the shards of glass inside the office of director Nilda Plaras of the COA risk management and budget office.

Another slug, the QCPD director said, was recovered in the pantry beside Plaras’ office, the window of which also had a hole. Both are on the second floor of the COA building.

“Gunfire was heard as early as 7 a.m. but nobody realized that bullets had hit the COA building until several hours later,” Albano pointed out.

According to the QCPD director the search for witnesses led investigators to the caretaker of a KTV Bar just across the street from the COA building who said there was a shooting incident in the area around 7 a.m. involving two men on a motorcycle.

“He (witness) said that the armed men had fired several times at another man but completely missed their target and sped away,” Albano told the Inquirer, adding that the time of the incident as well as the trajectory of the bullets were consistent with the bullet holes on the COA building.

“It seems the COA was not really the target,” Albano said. He added, however, that the investigation was continuing.
He said that the witness had counted at least four shots. Two missed the target while the other two were warning shots fired by the gunmen to discourage pursuit by bystanders.

In a statement coursed through the COA’s public information officer Robert Balago, the commission’s chair Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan said, “The reported shooting incident in the COA premises this morning is currently under investigation by the police. We do not wish to preempt the investigation, so let us wait for the results of the investigation.”

She added: “In any case, we will not allow this incident to cow us into silence nor deter us from faithfully discharging our constitutional duty. We owe this to God and the Filipino people. Please pray for the safety of every man and woman in the commission and for continued courage and integrity.”

COA chief: Shooting incident won't silence us By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated September 25, 2013 - 2:23pm 13 202 googleplus0 1


File photo of Commission on Audit chairperson Grace Pulido Tan

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido Tan said the agency will not be suppressed by the shooting incident at their main office on Wednesday morning.

Tan said in a statement that they will wait for the results of the ongoing police investigation on the incident that took place at their main office along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

"In any case, we will not allow this incident to cow us into silence nor defer us from faithfully discharging our constitutional duty. We owe this to God and the Filipino people," Tan said.

"Please pray for the safety of every man and woman in the Commission and for continued courage and integrity," she added.

In an earlier phone patch interview on ANC, Quezon City Police District chief Richard Albano said four gunshots were heard at the COA main office around 6 a.m.

Albano initially said they recovered two bullet slugs at the office of COA Assistant Director Minda Planas.

"Ang impression natin: may dumaan, pinaputukan yung building," he said.

In a separate television interview, Albano said that Planas was not the target of the shooters.

"We will assess the situation but certainly, we're looking at it with concern lalo kung lalabas sa investigation na this is not just a random incident," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

"We commend their determination to continue with their mandate and audit functions. This should not deter anyone. To enemies of reform, you've heard the chairman... you will fail," Lacierda added.

Authorities have yet to establish the motive behind the shooting incident, which happened amid the ongoing investigation on the alleged pork barrel scam.

The controversy involves lawmakers who diffused their pork barrel to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) supposedly set up by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

The COA chief, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima comprise the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council and have been tapped to investigate the pork barrel controversy.

Last month, the COA released a special audit report that revealed irregularities in the use of pork barrel from 2007 to 2009, including the diversion of the funds to several questionable NGOs.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Gunmen who strafed COA main office will fail, says Malacañang By Julliane Love De Jesus INQUIRER.net 4:57 pm | Wednesday, September 25th, 2

MANILA, Philippines—Reacting to the strafing of the Commission on Audit’s (COA) main office Wednesday morning by unidentified attackers, Malacañang said these gunmen will “fail” in their attempt to threaten the agency.

“To those elements who intended to use this as a threat to those people pushing for reforms, you have heard the chairman and you will fail,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda (photo) said in a press forum.

Earlier, COA chair Maria Grace Pulido-Tan assured they will not allow the shooting incident to “cow us into silence nor deter us from faithfully discharging our constitutional duty.”

Commending COA, Lacierda pointed out that heightened security measures “accorded to the commissioners of the COA” will be observed after the investigation.

“We commend the statement of Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan that they will not be deterred by the recent incident at the COA building and we commend their determination to continue with their mandate to serve the Filipino people and to continue with their audit functions,” Lacierda said.

He said: “this should not deter anyone.”

On August 16, COA revealed its special audit report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which involved the alleged misuse of billions of pesos by lawmakers with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles being tagged as the brains behind what is now known as the “pork barrel” scam.

Once the investigation yields that it was just not random shooting, Lacierda said they will look into this incident with “grave concern.”

Quezon City Police Department Chief Superintendent Richard Albano said the police were already conducting an investigation.

Authorities are set to review footages of security cameras installed at the vicinity of COA, he said.

The shooting occurred 7 a.m. Wednesday at the COA main office on Commonwealth Avenue.

Albano said two slugs from an unknown firearm were recovered inside the office of COA Assistant Director Minda Planas.

Asked if the attack was intended for Planas, he said it “it’s probably not” since the pantry area was also hit.

Related story:
COA shooting probe up to authorities, says Pulido-Tan


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