President Duterte ordered Calida to formally request COA to audit the Philippine Red Cross
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to formally request the Commission on Audit (COA) to audit the Philippine Red Cross.
In his Talk to the People address aired Thursday morning, President Duterte said that he preferred that an audit be conducted “immediately”.
“The next step would really be the letter to be delivered to the COA by Solicitor General Calida regarding my request to audit the Red Cross,” President Duterte said.
Earlier, Malacañang said that government funds paid to the Philippine Red Cross for the conduct of RT-PCR tests were subject to COA audit.
The Philippine Red Cross was headed by Senator Richard Gordon, the chairperson of the Senate blue ribbon committee, which was investigating allegations of overpricing in the government’s procurement of medical supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPEs) and face masks last year.
President Duterte had repeatedly said that there’s no overpricing and criticized Senator Gordon’s handling of the inquiry. The President even called the senator a “despot”.
“Susmaryosep Gordon hindi mo ako matakot not in a million years. Hindi ako kawatan kagaya mo. Wala akong Red Cross na ginagatasan araw-araw. It’s not my style,” President Duterte said.
The PRC board of governors said in a statement last September 3 that the humanitarian organization didn’t receive appropriations from the government and only received donations from corporations, private individuals, and partner international Red Crescent and Red Cross societies.
It added that some government agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) had donated to the Philippine Red Cross but those were “small part” of PRC funds and were properly liquidated.
“Being that the PRC is not a government agency, it is not subject to audit by the Commission on Audit,” it said.
However, the Philippine Red Cross was required to submit to the Office of the President an annual report containing its activities and showing its financial condition, according to the Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009.
Earlier, COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo told a House inquiry that they have no jurisdiction over the Philippine Red Cross, but they could examine government payments to the non-government entity.