Gordon reacts to probe of COA findings on DOH COVID-19 funds: 'Do it quick'

Published August 12, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said he is open to a possible Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation into the Commission on Audit’s (COA) report regarding the discrepancies it discovered in the Department of Health’s (DOH) handling of P67.32-billion worth of COVID-19 funds.

Despite the ongoing restrictions in place due to the surge of COVID-19 cases, Gordon said he is amenable to holding another probe into the alleged questionable handling of funds by the DOH in order to settle the long list of questions lawmakers have about the government’s COVID-19 response which has been sorely lacking.

“We’re looking into it. You know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, as much as possible I don’t want to investigate because I don’t want to move our focus away from our current problem,” Gordon said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

“But if we have to investigate, we have to investigate…If the Senate will investigate the COA findings, it should be done quickly,” he said.

“Pero kung nakikita ko na masama na talaga ang nangyari dito, (If we see that things happening have taken for the worse), then we will investigate and heads will roll,” he also stressed.

According to Gordon, his staff are starting to dig into public records to look into the veracity of the information coming from the state auditing agency.

“We need to know why are the funds that have already been released still unobligated?” he pointed out.

“So in case we investigate, we will focus on that. We will hold accountable those who should be held accountable,” he stressed.

“It can be a quick investigation, I promise you,” he reiterated, adding that the Senate can also dig into the DOH’s spending in the upcoming deliberations on the proposed 2022 national budget.

He also said he would make sure that the Senate’s investigation into the COA report would also tackle the non-release of special risk allowance to the country’s doctors, nurses and other health care workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response.

“Kulang sa malasakit yung mga namumuno .. siguro ang priority nila sa magpakita sa dyaryo na gumagamot sila..dapat alagaan mo yung team mo (Those who are taking the lead lack concern. Maybe their priority is to be seen in the media that they are healing people in action. You know, you should be taking care of your team) which are the doctors, nurses, medical frontline personnel,” he said.

“Kung di mo naalagan (If you can’t take care of them then) you are a very poor and stupid leader. You can be sure I’ll look into that because I’ve been fighting for the nurses, for all our healthcare workers),” Gordon reiterated.