President Duterte: “Ang gusto kong makita ko ang audit talaga na totoo ng Red Cross.”
On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he wanted to see the real audit of the Philippine Red Cross and will demand the Commission on Audit (COA) to audit the PRC in order to see if funds were being spent correctly.
President Duterte claimed in his Talk to the People address aired late Thursday evening that Senator Richard Gordon and the Philippine Red Cross have accumulated billions over the years. According to the President, he wanted to see the real audit of the Philippine Red Cross.
“The money that you have accumulated all these years would run into billions at ang gusto kong makita ko ang audit talaga na totoo ng Red Cross,” he said.
President Duterte also said that he will ask COA to audit the non-government organization and give the Executive Branch a copy of its findings.
The President, whose statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) since 2018 haven’t been made public, said that Senator Gordon can look at his books as well.
He also claimed that Senator Gordon was guilty of malversation and that the latter will not be able to explain what he will find in Red Cross’ books.
President Duterte’s statement came amidst exchanges with Senator Gordon, who was the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, as the Senate conducted an investigation on the alleged purchase of pandemic supplies by the government last year from Pharmally.
Meanwhile, former Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) chief Rudolf Philip Jurado on Friday criticized President Duterte for asking for an audit report on the Philippine Red Cross.
Jurado said in a Facebook post that President Duterte should have known that the Commission on Audit can’t look into the funds of the Philippine Red Cross, which was a non-government agency.
Former COA commissioner Heidi Mendoza also said that the Philippine Red Cross may not be audited as it’s a non-government institution, but PRC contracts with government agencies can be scrutinized.
Mendoza also said that it’s worth noting that Senator Richard Gordon was a public official.
“Bagaman at hindi ina-awdit ng COA ang Red Cross, may ilang operation nito ang pwedeng tingnan, kunyari ‘yung contract nito with government agencies, in which case yung government funds lang ang sakop at sa government agency lang kung saan nanggaling ang pondo pwedeng pumasok ang auditors. Sa isang banda, may katwiran din ang humihingi ng awdit. Ang head ng Red Cross ay isang senador na kasali sa pagbusisi ng budget ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan at sa masusing pagsusuri ay pwedeng pag-simulan ng conflict of interest,” Mendoza said.