A FORMER Davao city accountant has been appointed as the new Commission on Audit (COA) chair by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Presidential Palace said on Friday.

Acting Presidential Spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said at a televised news briefing that Mr. Duterte had signed the appointment papers of Rizalina Noval Justol on Thursday. She will be replacing former COA chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo whose seven-year term ended on Feb. 2.

Ms. Justol served as the accountant of the Davao City government when Mr. Duterte was the city mayor.

“We wish Chairperson Justol success and assure her that the government will always be supportive of COA’s efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of government funds,” he said.

When asked during the briefing why Ms. Justol was appointed to the position despite facing plunder and malversation raps in 2010, Mr. Nograles gave his assurance that all officials are appointed based on their credentials, experience, achievements, and accomplishments.

“For positions like COA chair and many high positions, apart from the appointment, it will still go through a process of confirmation,” he added.

The complaint had been filed not only against Ms. Justol, but also Mr. Duterte and other officials from Davao City for allegedly misusing about P2.93 billion worth of public funds from 2003 to 2006.

The status of the complaint is not clear.

Aside from having being an accountant of the President’s hometown, Ms. Justol had also served as Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan