Gordon to Duque: Just answer COA-flagged ‘deficiencies’
MANILA, Philippines — While he said he understands why Health Secretary Francisco Duque III turned emotional in a recent House hearing, Senator Richard Gordon said the health chief should just have assured state auditors that the “deficiencies” flagged on his agency’s pandemic fund will all be answered.
“I don’t think that anybody in government who knows his onions, ‘di ka naman dapat magwala diyan kasi ang COA (Commission on Audit) bibigyan ka nga mga observations nila, lalo na ito, very preliminary pa lang ito. They have at least 60 days to answer all the discrepancies,” Gordon said in an interview on ABS-CBN New Channel on Wednesday.
“He should have said that: ‘I’m ready to answer, I can answer most of them’,” he added.
On Tuesday, Duque faced the House public account committee as the COA briefed lawmakers about its report that found “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s (DOH) management of pandemic funds worth P67.32 billion.
Duque then turned emotional as he ranted against COA, saying its audit report “damaged” the “dignity” of the DOH and caused some personnel, including himself, to lose sleep due to “shame.”
“If he (Duque) 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,” Gordon went on.
“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 added.
On Wednesday, Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, is opening an investigation into the DOH’s use of its pandemic funds, particularly on the issue of benefits the government promised to give to healthcare workers.
“What is important is alamin muna natin yung mga nurses, nababayaran ba yung mga nurses sa pinangako ng gobyerno? Because pag nawalan tayo ng tao sa ospital, hindi na pumasok ang mga nurses, pilay ang system. The health system becomes broken,” he said.
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