Commission on Audit

NTC chief Cordoba is Marcos’ new COA chairperson

Jairo Bolledo
NTC chief Cordoba is Marcos’ new COA chairperson

NEW CHAIR. Newly appointed COA Chairperson Gamaliel Cordoba takes his oath before Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on October 21, 2022.

Supreme Court

It was under Gamaliel Cordoba's watch when ABS-CBN lost its franchise and Bulatlat's website was blocked

MANILA, Philippines – National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Commission on Audit (COA), replacing Jose Calida.

On Friday, October 21, Cordoba took his oath before Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, according to SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka.

Cordoba’s appointment comes more than two weeks since former solicitor general Jose Calida, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first COA chairperson, resigned. Calida was also among the appointees bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

The new COA chair will serve until 2029 because the commission’s head has a seven-year term with no reappointment, but he needs to be confirmed by the CA.

Cordoba will now oversee the constitutional commission mandated to examine and audit all accounts of the government and its agencies or instrumentalities. The commission has been instrumental in exposing corruption in the government through the years.

NTC stint

The newly appointed COA chairperson is a longtime NTC commissioner, having served since Arroyo time in 2009. When Duterte held the presidency in 2016, he retained Cordoba in the commission.

Cordoba was the NTC commissioner when the Duterte government pushed for the shutdown of ABS-CBN. In the wake of the shutdown issue, Cordoba said in one of legislative hearings that his commission would “most likely” issue a provisional authority to the network to allow them to continue operating pending their franchise.

Cordoba had also said at the height of the franchise issue that ABS-CBN had no standing penalties with the NTC. However, the network’s franchise later expired.

Aside from that, ranking lawmakers also threatened to file a graft and corruption complaint against Cordoba for allowing ABS-CBN to continue airing some of its shows through its digital box TV Plus. 

It was also under Cordoba’s term when the website of alternative news site Bulatlat was blocked. Before the end of Duterte’s term, then national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. requested “Philippine Internet Service Providers to block access” to several sites, including Bulatlat.

Bulatlat’s website was later unblocked after the news site won against the NTC and Esperon in court.

Cordoba is a lawyer and a member of the Fraternal Order of Utopia. Before his NTC stint, he served as an undersecretary at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs, under the Office of the President. He also used to work as a board member of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

In his private career, Cordoba worked for Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices and auditing giant SGV & Co. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.