Duque turning ‘emotional’ amid COA issue ‘understandable,' says solon | Inquirer News
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Duque turning ‘emotional’ amid COA issue ‘understandable,’ says solon

/ 12:53 PM August 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — It was “understandable” for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to turn emotional as he faced the issues surrounding the recent report of the Commission on Audit (COA), a House leader said Thursday.

House committee on public accounts chair and Probinsyano Ako Rep. Bonito Singson made the remark after Duque ranted against COA following the agency’s report that found “deficiencies” amounting to P67.32 billion in the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 response fund in 2020.

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“Understandble ‘yung pagka-emotional nya. Kasi nga naman, sino ba naman matutuwa kung sasabihin na P67 billion kinukwestyon,” Singson said in an interview with reporters.

(Duque turning emotional was understandable. Who would be happy if P67 billion of your agency’s funds are being questioned?)

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“Syempre anybody can be emotionally affected by that, especially kung either totoo lahat, hindi totoo lahat o may kaunting kamalian ‘yung allegations,” he added.

(Anybody can be emotionally affected by that even if the allegations were true, not entirely true, or not true at all.)

COA indicated in the report that the deficiencies were caused by non-compliance with pertinent laws and regulations that have led to missed opportunities and contributed to challenges that the country faced during the health crisis.

There was no mention of “corruption” in the COA report.

During the briefing of the committee on public accounts on Tuesday, Duque slammed COA for supposedly damaging the dignity of the DOH.

Duque also said he and other DOH personnel have lost sleep due to “shame” as they were “bloodied and bludgeoned with this issue.”

Should Duque resign?

Asked if he agrees with calls for a Duque resignation amid the DOH’s actions during the pandemic, Singson said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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“The President has the prerogative to appoint ‘yung mga trusted niyang secretaries and si Secretary Duque is one of the—as publicly stated by the President—most trusted Cabinet members, especially in the context of the pandemic,” Singson said.

(The President has the prerogative to appoint his most trusted secretaries and Secretary Duque is one of the—as publicly stated by the President—most trusted Cabinet members, especially in the context of the pandemic.)

“Buong buo pa rin ang tiwala ni Presidente, wala tayong magagawa dun even if there is clamor for his resignation,” he added.

(The President completely trusts him. We can’t do anything about that even if there is clamor for his resignation.)

Duterte himself has earlier said he will not accept it if Duque will offer his resignation over the recent issues in relation to the DOH funds.

“I know that you already want to resign, but you also know that I will refuse you. In the past, you have attempted to resign twice. I expect you to say something after this. You will resign. I will tell you, ‘No.’ You did nothing wrong. Why should you resign?” Duterte told Duque in a public briefing.

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