Duterte holds self responsible for COVID-19 funds
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has assured the public that expenses related to the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response will be properly accounted for.
“Gusto kong ipaalam sa lahat, that upon my oath of office, huwag kayong mag-alala lahat ng pera na nagastos dito sa way ng Covid ay maa-account. I will hold myself responsible,” Duterte said in a taped speech aired Tuesday morning.
(I want everybody to know that upon my oath of office, do not worry, all of the money spent here for COVID will be accounted for.)
Duterte then claimed that he will personally endorse the filing of appropriate charges against officials who mess with the government funds.
“Huwag kayong mag-alala kasi ‘yung may kulang or nagkulang, kukunin natin pabalik. I assure you, I will be the one to endorse the case to the prosecuting office. Ako ang magpirma mismo,” the President said.
(Do not worry because those who shortchanged, we will get it back. I will be the one to endorse the case to the prosecuting office. I will personally sign it.)
Seven senators earlier filed Resolution No. 479, asking the Commission on Audit (COA) to scrutinize the Duterte administration’s spending on its COVID-19 response.
The resolution was filed after concerns were raised over government purchases “marred by allegations of overpricing,” including the procurement of automated nucleic acid extractors, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and the importation of RT-PCR test kits from China and South Korea.
The COA is asked to present its findings before the 2021 budget deliberations.
But Malacañang said it welcomes the special audit, saying that it does not have anything to hide.
“Wala pong tinatago ang Presidente at ang Malacañang. Lahat po ng gastos, lahat po ng pera na ginastos para sa COVID-19, napunta po yan para sa COVID-19 response ng gobyerno,” Roque previously said.
(The President and Malacañang are hiding nothing. All of the expenses, all of the money spent for COVID-19, went to the government’s COVID-10 response.)
In the same speech, Duterte also welcomed any move to ensure that the COVID-19 funds were properly used.
“I am demanding Congress to join us in putting up measures to ensure that the (COVID-19) money is spent for its purpose. Kung gusto niyo ng accounting for every transaction, pwede rin,” Duterte said.
(If you want an accounting of every transaction, that can be done.)
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