By Rjay Zuriaga Castor


For former Vice President Jejomar Binay, the deficiencies of how the Department of Health (DOH) managed its P67.32-billion fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic is a manifestation of "inefficiency" and "incompetence" of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 

"Nasasayang ang pagod at sakripisyo ng medical frontliners. They are being led in this uphill battle against a deadly virus by an inefficient and incompetent Health Secretary. Imagine billions of pesos unspent or misspent during a pandemic," said Binay in a tweet on Thursday. 

He added that the "various deficiencies" in the health department's funds that led to "missed opportunities" in the country's pandemic response is "unpardonable."

Binay's remark came after the Commission on Audit’s (COA) annual audit report for DOH in 2020 revealed its non compliance on the existing laws and regulations in managing the use P67.32 billion worth of funds. 

The human rights lawyer added that "the COA report should end the scapegoating" as receipts could prove that Duque had his shortcomings on the undisbursed COVID-19 funds. 

Binay also played the 'blame game' with the Health Secretary and other officials whenever there was a surge in infections. 

"And yet the Health Secretary and other officials will always blame us and our supposed lack of discipline for our predicament. Whenever there is a surge in infections, it’s always our fault, never theirs," he said. 

The DOH, meanwhile, is aiming to submit by next week its report to address the alleged deficiencies— a month earlier than the September 27 deadline that was set by the COA for their response.