Pangilinan backs calls to probe Bayanihan 1 and 2 spending

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has backed calls for the special audit of the 570-billion-peso fund earmarked under the Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2 to ensure that billions of pesos in public funds are spent accordingly to help alleviate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Dapat suportahan natin iyan. Kailangang busisin natin iyan dahil bilyun-bilyon ang halagang involved dito,” said Pangilinan during an interview, referring to Senator Risa Hontiveros’ Senate Resolution 710 urging the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the government’s expenditure under the Bayanihan Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover Act (Bayanihan 2).

Pangilinan said the investigation should also tackle the issue on overpriced personal protective equipment (PPEs), testing kits, and laboratory equipment bought by the government to help address Covid-19.

“Bakit overpriced iyong PPEs? Hanggang ngayon hindi pa natin nareresolba iyan nang lumabas ang isyu. Bakit nag-overprice ang testing kit at testing laboratory equipment?” he said.

The senator said the distribution of financial assistance should also be scrutinized amid reports of various anomalies, including the incorrect amount given to the public.

Pangilinan said the government should also religiously update the Senate and Congress regarding the spending of the Bayanihan 1 and 2 funds through weekly financial reports as required by law from Malacanang under Bayanihan 1.

“Ang intensiyon ng Senado at ng Kongreso roon ay talagang magkaroon ng transparency kaya dapat talagang may reporting requirements,” said Pangilinan.

“They have to continue reporting and if they don’t, we would exercise the oversight function of the Senate and Congress to force them to report and give us the latest update on the spending,” he added.