Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III emotionally told the head of the Commission on Audit that DOH officials were allegedly affected by the COA report released on the alleged deficiencies in the use of P67.3 billion in funds in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic.
During the hearing of the House Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday on the COA report, Duque said that DOH officials had been “sleepless” since the COA released their annual report.
In the COA’s annual report on the use of funds by various government agencies, the DOH was criticized for alleged deficiencies in the use of COVID-19 funds.
“I think COA should also consider that we are not operating under normal circumstances. We’re operating under a state of public health emergency,” said Duque.
“Winarak na ninyo kami. Winarak ninyo ang dangal ng DOH. Winarak ninyo ang lahat ng mga kasama dito,” he added.
Duque called the COA unfair because the DOH was not given enough time to submit the required documents stated in the state auditor’s recommendation.
Duque says COA destroyed DOH’s diginity
“Masakit po talaga sa amin ito dahil kami po ang pangunahing ahenysa na humaharap, tumutugon sa panahon na ito… Por Diyos, por santo, maawa naman kayo. Kayo nga ang pumunta rito at kayo ang gumawa,” he said.
COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo said they followed all the “due process” in the report. He said this includes meetings with the relevant agencies and exit conferences.
“So it’s not correct at all to say na walang due process,” said Aguinaldo. “It’s not correct to say na hindi sila pinakinggan and all.”
He also said that the COA did not release the report to the journalists because their annual audit report is released and can be seen on their website.
Aguinaldo also said they received no “pressure” to clarify that they did not mention that corruption had occurred regarding their report on DOH’s COVID-19 funds.
“I can assure the public that statement was not pressured. It was really our assessment… it was getting out of hand, so we should at least clarify it,” said Aguinaldo.