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Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo did not mince words when he called the mismanagement of government funds during a health crisis "unconscionable." In an interview with Yahoo Philippines, he said that this issue undermines the public's confidence in the government to resolve the health crisis.
"For one to misappropriate and misuse the proceeds from whatever tax and non-tax revenues we have, and borrowed funds are unconscionable," Guinigundo said. "The people [will lose] trust in the government's capability to mitigate the pandemic against this alleged misuse of public funds."
The Pharmally investigation, which started initially as an inquiry of Congress over the misuse of P67 billion of funds by the Department of Health (DOH), turned into a full-blown investigation into alleged corruption in the government's procurement of pandemic-related equipment.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, headed by Senator Richard Gordon, has recommended in its report the filing of charges against several Pharmally executives, including President Rodrigo Duterte's former economic adviser Michael Yang and head of procurement Christopher Lloyd Lao.
The same report also blames President Duterte for coddling Pharmally and has recommended the filing of a complaint against the president after his term expires on June 30, 2022. However, although eight senators have already signaled their support for the committee report, it is yet to be debated on the full Senate floor.
That is why, for Guinigundo, the next administration must make a commitment to good governance in order to finally resolve this issue and bring back the public's confidence in the government to resolve the pandemic crisis.
"The new government should be able to provide a clear roadmap on how to do it so that the civil society will have a basis for assessing its commitment to good governance," Guinigundo said.
"The next government should be explicit about its commitment to honest and effective government ... If they are transparent, open, and accountable, the people will have more trust and confidence in their government," Guinigundo added.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.
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