MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) on Friday explained that its 2020 audit report on the Department of Health (DOH)—which observed "deficiencies" in its management of billions in COVID-19 response funds—is not conclusive of corruption.
"Accompanying the observations and findings are the recommendations made by the auditors for the management of DOH to address the observation and findings... which allows the audited agency to...rectify any deficiencies," COA said in a statement released Friday.
It added: "The Report itself does not mention any findings by the auditors of funds lost to corruption."
The COA issued the clarification after its audit report on the DOH went viral, with some urging Health Secretary Francisco Duque to resign due to his alleged failure to manage some P67.323 billion in COVID-19 response funds.
The DOH has said the funds were accounted for.
The audit agency explained that its report was not alleging corruption against the DOH, but was merely pointing out "deficiencies" that can still be rectified.
"As an example, some of the findings of deficiencies involving COVID-19 funds amounting to P67.3 billion resulted from the non-submission of documentation or supporting papers, which the DOH may still submit in compliance with the auditor’s recommendation," COA said, adding "there is no finding that this amount cannot be accounted for."
Duque said the DOH always "takes our COA findings very seriously" and has been "working to further improve our processes and controls."
He earlier said the agency would answer questions raised by the audit report next week.