Audit Bayanihan Act implementation to ferret out possible ‘anomalies’, senator urges

Published June 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday insisted on the need to audit the implementation of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, saying Congress cannot just rely on President Duterte’s weekly reports.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Risa Hontiveros
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Parang ikaw na ang gumawa ng test, ikaw ang sumagot, ikaw magche-check, ikaw magba-validate? (It will appear you made the test, you included the answer, you’re the one who check it and you’re the one who will also validate?),” the senator pointed out in an interview with ANC.

Hontiveros said an audit of the Bayanihan law, which was not extended or renewed before the adjournment of the regular session, can be done if the President calls for a special session.

Senators, last week, said they are open to a special session if ever the President wants to pursue the passage of the “Bayanihan 2” or the proposed “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.”

“If ever it happens, dapat gagawin namin yung audit (we will do the audit),” she said.

The opposition senator insisted an audit is necessary especially amid allegations of overpriced procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs), COVID-19 test kits and other testing equipment which other members of the Senate also raised.

The government, she said, should be accountable for the proper use of taxpayers’ money and should ensure that funds allocated for COVID-19 response should be spent judiciously.

Hontiveros said the anomalies that were discussed and bared during the Senate committee of the whole’s hearing on the Bayanihan Law prior to Congress’ adjournment could just have been a “tip of the iceberg.”

“Baka there might be even more for us to audit,” Hontiveros said.

Last week, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque turned down calls for an audit of the Bayanihan Law saying Hontiveros can just read the President’s weekly report.

Roque assured the government’s expenses on COVID-19 related programs will undergo the Commission on Audit’s (COA) scrutiny.