A week after 'Bayanihan Act', Senate expects Duterte to report on COVID-19 expenditures


Posted at Mar 30 2020 12:12 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said his chamber expects to receive President Rodrigo Duterte's first report on how the executive department made use of additional funds and powers approved by Congress to boost the government's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Under the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act", the President must submit a weekly report to Congress, detailing how the government utilized public funds to send aid to indigent families and health workers battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"I expect to receive a report on [the] distribution of financial aid to the 18 million families of the informal sector, mass testing specially in urban areas, [and] prioritization of the safety and welfare of the frontline health workers," Sotto told reporters in a text message.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and senators Pia Cayetano, Christopher "Bong" Go, and Panfilo Lacson were assigned to represent the Senate in the Congress' joint oversight committee, he said.

As of Monday noon, Malacañang has yet to transmit its first weekly report to Congress.

While the law exempts coronavirus-related purchases from the procurement process, the executive branch will still have to subject itself to state audit, Drilon earlier said.

"I want to emphasize that the rules of the Commission on Audit and the law on anti-graft are not being waived in so far as the execution of this law is concerned," Drilon said.

"Ito ay extraordinary times at siguro sa 3 buwan, bigyan natin ng enough leeway ang executive branch to do the job... Kapag hindi natin sinunod ito ay may pananagutan pa rin tayo," he said.