Duterte tells COA to stop flagging agencies, avoid tainting them ‘corrupt by perception’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 17, 2021   •   713

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte told the Commission on Audit (COA) to stop flagging government agencies and stop publishing reports as it would put concerned agencies in a bad light.

“Stop that flagging. Do not publish it because it will condemn the agency or the person that you are flagging. Huwag kayong sige ng flag nang flag tapos wala namang napreso. Wala naman lahat. When you flag, there is already a taint of corruption by perception,” Duterte said in his weekly taped briefing on Monday (August 16).

He said the COA should not conduct an audit while a project is ongoing or the documents are still being processed to be fair to the people involved in the project.

“May mga project tayo. So ngayon, mayroon talaga papel na hindi masyado nakumpleto. Kapag mag-[audit] ang COA, magsabi ng deficiency, hindi mo sabihin na deficiency dahil ninakaw ang pera,” Duterte said.

Duterte explained that when COA flags a “deficiency”, the public would only assume that the money had been stolen or missing.

In the case of the recent issue with DOH, he said: “Imposibleng magnakaw ng P67.3 billion.”

“To the issue of whether the money is stolen, that is pure bu***,” he added.

The President stressed that he will not allow any member of his Cabinet to steal public funds while he is in office.

“Do you think papayag ako na may isa dito sa Cabinet member ko na magnakaw maski one thousand? You really think that I will allow it. Marami diyan sa ibang departamento but not the Cabinet members,” the President said.

COA flagged the DOH for deficiencies in its use of the P67.3 billion COVID response fund.

From among the 13 deficiencies mentioned by COA, the DOH has resolved five of the items; three are partially resolved and the other five are still ongoing compliance.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the COA reports were referring to documentary issues.

The DOH has until September 30 to address all COA findings and observations.

DOJ to issue immigration lookout bulletin order against Michael Yang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021

Michael Yang

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser Michael Yang on Tuesday, Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced.

This is in response to the request of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon to place Yang under an immigration watchlist.

Gordon on Monday (September 13) wrote to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to seek issuance of an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against Yang.

A similar request was previously submitted to the DOJ for former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and seven others, to which an immigration lookout order had been released.

Yang and Lao are both under probe due to alleged deficiencies in the use of the P67-billion budget for pandemic response under the Department of Health (DOH) which was reflected in the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report.

The Blue Ribbon has been investigating the government’s handling of COVID-19 response funds, including the procurement of supposedly “overpriced” face masks and shields. AAC

 

Phl logs 21,411 new COVID-19 cases; total now at 2,227,367

Maris Federez   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines recorded 21,411 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 2,227,367, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Sunday.

The recorded new infections also brought the total active COVID-29 cases to 181,951.

Of this number, 86 percent are mild, 9.5 percent are asymptomatic, 0.6 percent are critical, 1.3 percent are severe, and 2.59 percent are moderate.

The DOH also reported that the total number of recoveries stands at 2,010,271 with the addition of 25,049 patients recuperated from the disease.

Meanwhile, 168 new fatalities caused the country’s COVID-19 death toll to climb to 35,145.

The DOH reported that 65 duplicates were removed from the overall case tally including 57 recoveries and one death.

After final validation, 58 cases that were initially tagged as recoveries, were reclassified as deaths.

Five laboratories were not able to submit data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System, the DOH said. —/mbmf

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

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