By Lester Neil Rustia


MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has loosened up his remarks regarding the alleged budget discrepancies of the Department of Health (DOH) after being flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the department’s handling and spending of funds for COVID-19 response.

In a pre-recorded broadcast earlier this afternoon, Duterte stated that it is “impossible” for the agency to steal P67.3 billion.

“I am not defending DOH. Trabaho nila ‘yan (It is their job) and we are governed by the rules. I’m not defending because they are not being accused of anything. I’m just sharing my opinion,” Duterte said.

He reiterated to the general public that he is not defending DOH as controversies continue to rise saying Duterte himself was part of the alleged fund deficiencies.

"Kasi Duterte is defending DOH from anomalies P***** i** anong anomalies dyan? Sabi ko nga e, hindi sila ang nagbabayad, ang DBM [Department of Budget and Management] man,” he added.

This came after the COA flagged the DOH for its use of funds, specifically, for the department's noncompliance towards the existing rules and regulations, which was deemed as the causal factor of its negligent response against COVID-19.

As a response, the DOH reaffirmed that it was addressing the deficiencies marked by COA.