Ombudsman to subpoena DOH, DBM for probe on COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday will issue subpoenas to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in relation to its probe on the alleged irregularities in the country’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires said his office wants to get documents from both departments in relation to the funds given to them for the assistance of the kin of medical frontliners who died or became severely ill because of COVID-19.
“Today we will be issuing subpoenas to the DBM, to DOH, particularly with respect to the special allotment request order doon sa budget na binigay ng Pangulo doon sa mga namatay na frontliners, doon sa budget na binigay para sa COVID-19,” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines on Friday.
(Today we will be issuing subpoenas to the DBM, to DOH, particularly with respect to the special allotment request order on the budget given to them by the President in relation to frontliners who died due to COVID-19, and the budget for COVID-19 response.)
The subpoenas will be addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
The Office of the Ombudsman would like to know based on the documents how the funds were used and how long it took the agencies to release the aid to medical frontliners, Martires said.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, public and private health workers who contract severe COVID-19 while in the line of duty are entitled to receive P100,000, while the families of those who die of the disease, will get P1 million.
Martires earlier launched a probe on Duque and other officials and employees of DOH over alleged irregularities made in the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is in relation to the “purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health; and news reports re: use of UP invented test kits.”
Two additional investigating teams will focus on the delayed procurement of personal protective equipment and other medical gear for healthcare workers, and on the alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers and the rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners.
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