By Ben Rosario
State auditors and examiners in the country want results in the police investigation into the murder of Auditor Guiaria Bagundang Akmad, supervising auditor of Maguindanao Province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Employed by the Commission on Audit, the nation’s auditors vowed to continue carrying out their constitutional duty as auditors but want a closure to the Akmad murder.
Akmad was gunned down inside her vehicle as it emerged from the Citymall carpark in Cotabato City mall last Jan. 10. She was with her husband at the time of the shooting but he was left unharmed.
In a statement issued after the murder, COA auditors strongly condemned Akmad’s murder which they believe is linked to her work as Maguindanao province auditor.
“We strongly urge the authorities to act swiftly on the case and conduct an impartial investigation so that the perpetrators may be brought to justice,” they said.
The statement added: “The nature of the work of our auditors exposes them to risks to their safety but this has not and shall not deter us from doing our Constitutional duty.”
Auditors aired fears that Akmad’s death will be added to the list of unsolved murders committed against audit examiners.
In 2014, Basilan province auditor Ester Galarosa, 54, was shot to death while driving her car on a busy road in Zamboanga City.
Galarosa was beside a companion who, like Akmad’s husband, was not hurt during the shooting.
Then-COA Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan condemned Galarosa’s death, saying that it was clearly work-related.
“Esther, thank you for your supreme sacrifice. The Filipino people will never forget and will forever be grateful,” Pulido-Tan wrote in a letter she sent to Galarosa’s family.
On Oct. 4, 2002, Agustin Chan, provincial auditor of Ilocos Sur, and his driver, Alex Recacho, were ambushed and shot to death by heavily armed men while passing along the national highway in Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
Chan’s death was blamed on then-Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson by the civil society group, Save Ilocos Sur Alliance (SISA).
SISA charged that Chan was killed shortly after allegedly calling on Singson to liquidate some P224 million in fund disbursements.
Reacting to the accusation, Singson reportedly said: “Under the circumstances, the best and most practical way to silence him should have been to fix him with cash, not with bullets.”
The murders of Galarosa and Chan remained unsolved up to this day.