Eddie Villanueva

OMB, COA urged to aid pandemic frontliners

August 25, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 432 views

DEPUTY Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva has filed a resolution urging the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit (CoA) to become ‘frontliners’ in serving swift justice to aggrieved pandemic frontliners.

CIBAC filed last Tuesday House Resolution (HR) 2157 prodding the Ombudsman and CoA to form and commission a composite team that will dig deeper on the controversial P67 billion alleged deficiencies in the management of pandemic funds as reported by CoA in its 2020 annual audit report.

“Such hefty amount of funds deserves a laser-focused investigation from the Ombudsman and CoA. HR 2157 is our call for these anti-corruption agencies to form a composite team that will facilitate and expedite the resolution of the corruption issue DoH is facing. This must be done ASAP,” Villanueva said.

HR 2157 seeks to, among others, arrive at a “fair and speedy resolution of mismanagement issues and alleged corruption of (coronavirus disease-19) COVID-19 funds” which it deems “very critical in averting the erosion of public trust and confidence towards the government.”

HR 2157 also said that the Constitution has empowered the Ombudsman and CoA to launch a motu proprio investigation on acts of government inefficiencies and impropriety as well as compel the submission of documents when needed.

Being independent bodies, Villanueva said both possess the powers and technical expertise to make an in-depth and fair fact-finding probe which has the real value and materiality as far as the purpose of accountability and prosecution of corruption is concerned.

“Because of DoH mismanagement of P67 billion COVID-19 budget, our frontline health workers have been deprived of billions-worth special risk allowance, hazard duty pay, and financial assistance,” the CIBAC lawmaker said.

“But that may just be a tip of a monstrous iceberg. Hidden underneath may be unfinished projects, flagrant noncompliance to standard procedures and regulations, and negligence in use of public funds,

which Congress had dictated how to spend. Thanks to CoA, these are not so hidden anymore. Therefore, the Ombudsman must now complement the state audit agency and swiftly be at the front exacting accountability from those who might be remiss in their duties,” Villanueva added.

“Aside from compelling the compliance with audit observation, Ombudsman and CoA must delve more on addressing more substantial issues like overpricing, collusion and entering into transactions gravely disadvantageous to the government,” the lawmaker from CIBAC said.

“The suffering Filipino people, caught in the grip of an economically crippling pandemic, demands the full accounting of these funds astronomical in proportion. Definitely, someone must be made answerable for probable abuse and pocketing of government funds,” Villanueva concluded.