The government can go to court if the Philippine Red Cross withheld its financial reports, according to Panelo.
On Sunday, Chief Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said that the government could ask the court to compel the Philippine Red Cross to submit the required financial reports.
Panelo said over Dobol B TV that the government can go to the court to compel the Philippine Red Cross to comply with what the law asked them to do if they can’t voluntarily give the report to the Office of the President.
“For one, kung hindi kusa magbigay ng report, we can go to court to compel them to comply with what the law asks them to do. Kapag hindi pa rin sila gumawa niyan, mayroon silang liability. Kung five years sila hindi nagsusumite, mayroon silang violation,” Panelo said.
Panelo’s remark came after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque cited PRC’s failure to submit its financial status to the President as an honorary president of the humanitarian organization.
In a recorded briefing aired last September 11, Panelo backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s position and said that in his legal opinion, “no further discussions were necessary” on whether the Commission on Audit (COA) can audit the Philippine Red Cross.
He, who said that he had submitted his legal opinion on the matter to the President, told President Duterte that he can “compel” COA to conduct the audit.
“Anong puwedeng gawin kay COA? Puwede tayong magfile ng petition for mandamus compelling COA to perform its duty to audit this nongovernmental organization like the PRC. At tama rin sinasabi ‘nyo na pag hindi ginampanan ni Michael Aguinaldo ang kanyang tungkulin, dereliction of duty po ‘yan,” Panelo said at that time.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Sunday said in a statement that it had “faithfully accounted for the use” of donations in compliance with the donor agencies’ liquidation and reportorial requirements, adding that those government agencies, in turn, were subject to annual audit by COA.
According to the Philippine Red Cross, there hasn’t been any adverse finding on any transaction whereby government funds were given to the organization to date and its records of donations may be obtained directly from donor state agencies.