Senator Richard Gordon sympathized with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III after the latter became emotional during the hearing in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
“The man is very tired, the man is getting it from all sides, nobody’s pleased. In a pandemic like this, nobody’s ever pleased with the government or anything like that,” he said.
However, Gordon said the DOH chief could have answered the findings of the Commission on Audit in a “very dignified manner.”
“I don’t think that anybody in government … knows his onions. ‘Di ka naman dapat magwala diyan kasi ang COA bibigyan ka nga mga observations nila (You don’t have to be hysterical there because the COA usually gives their observations). He should have said that: ‘I’m ready to answer, I can answer most of them,’” Gordon said in an ANC interview on Wednesday.
“If he had said that in a very dignified manner, then I think [there] would be less flak. But you know he is very emotional and I can understand where he’s coming from,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told Duque that transparency and accountability are part of a public servant’s job.
Gordon says Duque is ‘very tired’
“It comes with the job description. To be a secretary, a legislator, or elected official, being scrutinized by the public and being audited and being transparent about your transaction is part and parcel of our job description as public servants,” he said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
Zubiri noted COA is auditing other government agencies and not only DOH.
“He said ‘di raw siya natutulog (he can no longer sleep). Unfortunately, ang mga health workers ilang buwan na ‘di natutulog din (our health workers too are sleep-deprived), Secretary, with all due respect,” he said.
Duque said during the hearing, “Winawarak ninyo ang dangal ng Department of Health (You destroyed the honor of Department of Health)!”
Duque said the department does not squander funds, and they ensure compliance with the process.
The Secretary also assured that P67.32 billion has been used and continues to be used by the agency for the government’s COVID response.