DOH may still be liable over ₱67-B fund use deficiencies — Escudero

Published August 14, 2021, 10:31 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Former senator and Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero has maintained that the Department of Health (DOH) may still have committed a crime if proven to have failed in properly disbursing its P67.32-billion COVID-19 funds.

Former senator and Sorsogon Governor Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero (MANILA BULETIN File Photo)

“A crime can be committed either thru Malfeasance/Misfeasance/Nonfeasance [and] will surely make the public official criminally liable or, at least, for tort/damages,” Escudero, a lawyer, said on Twitter Friday night, August 13.

“Not using/spending P67 [billion] for public health during a pandemic certainly falls under nonfeasance at the very least!!!” he added.

The Commission on Audit (COA) on Friday clarified its audit of the DOH’s allocations for coronavirus response last year, saying the “various deficiencies” involving the spending of P67.32 billion did not mean that the funds were lost to corruption.

The COA said it is “premature to make conclusions” on its findings.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier denied that there was corruption in his department’s disbursements. He said the funds were all “accounted for”.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, has set on August 18 a motu proprio investigation on the 2020 audit report and other issues on the budget utilization of the DOH amid the fight against COVID-19.