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 Do not publish it because it will condemn the agency or the person that you are flagging.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.