Malacañang on Thursday stuck to its claim that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte had been transparent in its use of P275 billion in funds realigned for the country’s Covid-19 response under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1).

“Wala pong tinatago ang Presidente at ang Malacañang. Lahat po ng gastos, lahat po ng pera na ginastos para sa Covid-19 napunta po iyan para sa Covid-19 response ng gobyerno,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque told reporters in a virtual briefing.

Roque said that during the implementation of Bayanihan 1, the government was consistent in submitting expenditure reports to Congress. 

Malacañang’s assertion came after Senators Panfilo Lacson, Sonny Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed a resolution that sought a special audit of expenses, loans and donations made under Bayanihan 1.

The senators cited possible overpricing of items procured under the law, including personal protective equipment, medical supplies and other equipment and facilities.

Bayanihan 1, signed into law on March 25, granted Duterte special powers amid the Covid-19 crisis. It lapsed on June 25.

“Nonetheless, dahil wala naman kaming itinatago, we welcome the special audit, noting na talaga namang io-audit po iyan ng COA (Commission on Audit), dahil ang COA po ay post-audit po ang kanilang ginagawa,” Roque added.

The Senate on July 28 passed on third and final reading Senate Bill 1564 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” (Bayanihan 2) a day after Duterte called for its passage during his penultimate State of the Nation Address. John Ezekiel J. Hirro