Rodriguez: Premature to say DOH was ‘destroyed’ by audit report

Published August 18, 2021, 1:50 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday, August 18 thumbed down Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s claim the Department of Health (DOH) has been destroyed by the Commission on Audit’s (COA) report on the alleged mishandling of the P67.3-billion COVID-19 funds.

The Cagayan de Oro City representative said that as far as he is concerned, the state auditing agency has not issued any statements indicating there was corruption in the way the DOH handled the budget.

“There is no judgment yet here , there’s no statement from COA that there is corruption in the (handling of the) P67.3-billion,” Rodriguez said during the Ugnahan sa Batasan virtual forum.

“So it’s premature to say that it would destroy the DOH and the employees,” the lawmaker pointed out.

Nevertheless, he said the points raised by state auditors call requires the DOH to be transparent on how it utilized public funds meant to respond to the pandemic.

“On the other hand, these are something that should be seriously considered, answered and explained, because it’s a big amount P67-billion,” he pointed out.

During Tuesday’s congressional inquiry, embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III lashed at the COA report and called it “unfair” and accused the agency of making judgment without giving the DOH time to submit its rejoinder and act on its recommendations.

According to Duque, health officials had been sleepless since the COA released the report and called on the agency to consider that the DOH cannot operate under normal circumstances at this point in time.

“Winarak na ninyo kami. Winarak ninyo ang dangal ng DOH. Winarak ninyo ang lahat ng mga kasama dito (You destroyed us. You destroyed the dignity of the DOH. You destroyed all us who are working here),” Duque ranted.