MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte told the members of his Cabinet to just follow his orders and ignore the reports by the Commission on Audit (COA).
This, after a recent COA report drew questions on how the Department of Health used over P67 billion in COVID-19 funds, saying it is impossible that the money was stolen.
According to Duterte, state auditors should stop flagging deficiencies in government projects, especially those connected to pandemic response.
"Stop that flagging, God damn it. You make a report, do not flag. Do not publish it, because it will condemn the agency or the person that you are flagging," he said.
'Wag naman sige kayo flag nang flag, flag nang flag. Tapos wala namang na-preso, wala namang lahat. And yet you know that when you flag, there is already a taint of corruption by perception. Alam ninyong emergency ito. It is a matter of life and death. You have to understand and give it a little elbow room to move. Make emergency purchase, mag-utang. Ang utos ko, ganoon," Duterte added.
(Don't just flag, then no one would go to jail anyway. And yet you know that when you flag, there is already a taint of corruption by perception. You know this is an emergency. It is a matter of life and death. You have to understand and give it a little elbow room to move. We have to make emergency purchases, loans. That's what I ordered.)
Duterte even said the COA should be ignored since nothing happens with their reports anyway.
"'Wag mong sundin 'yang COA. COA-COA, wala namang mangyari diyan. 'Yan ang ayaw ko eh, 'yang flagging flagging," he said.
(Don't follow COA. COA-COA, nothing happens anyway. That's what I don't like, that flagging.)
Earlier in his speech, Duterte defended the Department of Health (DOH) after a COA report drew questions on how it used over P67 billion in COVID-19 funds.
A 2020 COA report made public on Wednesday said the health department failed to comply with existing laws and regulations in handling the country's COVID-19 response funds worth P67.323 billion.
The DOH has denied corruption allegations, and said the amount is fully accounted for.
The DOH also said it is nearing completion of documents in response to state auditors, but there are still units in the agency that have yet to complete required papers.
COA, Commission on Audit, Rodrigo Duterte, Department of Health, DOH, DOH P67-B deficiencies, DOH P67-B COVID-19 funds