What a sheet of paper

column-teddy locsin-free fireALL this time, we thought that the Commission on Audit (COA) investigates the propriety of public money that is spent—and possibly misspent, but never of money that is not spent, because money that is not spent cannot be misspent.

The nonexpenditure of money lies entirely within the unquestionable discretion of the executive that proposed it, the legislature that appropriated it and, again, of the executive that spends it—or does not. But a COA audit report chastises Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya for not spending money at all on a toilet-upgrading program for train stations, ports and airports to the terrible tune of P351 million, which was not spent— and, therefore, not misspent.

This is ridiculous. The body to complain should be the crapping public, which must sit on toilet seats—if any—that the rest of the public drenched with their piss. It is the public that should complain but only to Congress; and it is Congress, not the COA, that should complain of this failure to spend, but only to the Department of Budget, which may not have released the sum, and last to Abaya, who may have had good reason not to spend it.

One, is that no amount of expenditure will toilet train the public— be it American, Filipino, Chinese, British, Mexican or Stanford University, where I encountered a toilet so stuffed to the brim with crap, it couldn’t be flushed down at all. Only the Japanese are neat in discharging their waste in public toilets.

If the COA will chastise for money that was not misspent because it wasn’t spent, then it must praise money that is spent, unless the money was misspent or, worse yet, overspent on a world-class parking building. It is as simple as that. But, being an election year, everybody is running for something, especially for a share of media attention, kasi kulang sila sa pansin. What a sheet— of paper, of course.


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