"P234,000 on meals. My God, isang kanta lang yun ng asawa ko!" exclaimed Liza Dino to disclaim the corruption charges against her husband Aiza "Ice" Seguerra.
In the audit report made by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the National Youth Commission, (NYC) the amount of P268,000 was reportedly spent for snacks during unofficial meetings.
Ice served as the chairperson of the National Youth Commission in 2017 until he resigned in April 2018.
Liza defended Ice during an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last April 24 at the Cine Filipino press conference held at Gloria Maris restaurant in Gateway Cubao, Quezon City.
She was present at the event as head of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
As such, Liza explained the process of submitting receipts and other paperwork needed in a government agency.
"May tinatawag na AOM, Audit Observation Memo, na ginagawa ng COA.
"Normally, nagko-crosscheck ang COA sa mga process na ginagawa.
"Ang each agency, may sariling process iyan.
"Of course, you want to go by the book, pero may iba't ibang tao 'yan.
"May kanya-kanyang process na not necessarily veering away from what is supposed to be submitted, pero baka hindi lang nila nako-compile nang maayos.
"For example, mga vouchers. Minsan, nagpapatung-patong yung ginagawa niyo.
"Kapag gumagawa ng Audit Observation Memo ang COA, sinasabi nila, unofficial ito kasi walang naka-attach na disbursement voucher.
"Ang gagawin sa amin, ipapa-reconcile namin ito sa Accounting [department] namin.
"So, hahanapin nila ang missing na paperwork.
"Last April 4, na-release na na-reconcile na ang lahat ng hinihingi ni COA.
"Yung mga naglalabas diyan ng balita, sana i-check niyo talaga sa NYC talaga kung tama talaga.
"Unfair because you're just giving half-truths. You are just giving half stories.
"You're not making sure that both sides are able to air it."
FACT CHECKING. Liza pointed out that Ice made public the document of the Commission on Audit indicating that all the money was accounted for.
"Nilabas niya yung COA observation na na-reconcile lahat, so sino ngayon ang napahiya?"
She then added, "I'm just saying, let's not be quick to judge.
"And for those who are doing that to malign or kung ano man ang intention niyo, be responsible."
How did Ice react to issue?
"Natawa siya," recalled Liza, "P234,000 on meals, my God, isang kanta lang yun ng asawa ko!
"Siya yung last person na iisipin niyong corrupt; abonado pa siya sa gobyerno noong nandun siya."
Liza stressed, "Hindi siya affected, pero nadadamay ang agency kasi, at that time, siya yung head.
"Talaga ba, si Ice pa ba ang iku-question natin pagdating sa integridad?"
At that point, Liza asked news organizations, Rappler in particular, to "stop, fact check, and verify" the details before coming out with a story.
"Nakakatawa lang na nakakainis kasi may mga iresponsable na akala nila gagamiting bala, I don't know for their own agenda.
"It's so malicious the way it was written."
The FDCP head also said about her husband, "I want to defend him because I know how he is.
"Kilala niyo ang asawa ko."