Duterte eyes Red Cross audit by COA amid word war with Gordon

Published September 2, 2021, 11:20 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said he will demand the Commission on Audit (COA) to audit the Philippine Red Cross, a non-government organization (NGO), to see if funds are being spent correctly.

President Duterte and Philippine Red Cross chairman Senator Richard Gordon (File photos)

Duterte made the statement amid exchanges with Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, as the Senate conducted a probe on the alleged purchase of coronavirus (COVID-19) supplies by the government last year from Pharmally.

In his second pre-recorded public address late Thursday evening, September 2, Duterte claimed that the Gordon and the Red Cross have accumulated billions over the years.

“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 (and I want to see the real audit of the Red Cross),” he said.

He said he will ask COA to audit the non-government organization and give the Executive Branch a copy of its findings.

“I will demand, the Executive Department will demand that we be furnished the copies of your audit taken by COA, and COA to give us the copies so that we can review also what you have audited at tignan ba namin kung tama o hindi (and we will see if it is done correctly or not),” Duterte said.

The President, whose statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) since 2018 have not been made public, said Gordon can look at his books as well.

“Let us be open to everybody. You open your books and I open mine, and you can read all that is entered there and I will also examine what you have done so that it will be a fair scheme for everybody,” he said.

“‘Yan lang ang gusto kong tanungin. Kasi itong si Gordon nagmamalinis, eh (That’s all I want to know. It’s because Gordon is acting like he is all clean),” he added.

President Duterte said Senator Gordon is guilty of malversation and that the latter will not be able to explain what he will find in Red Cross’ books.

“We will start also with your record as a public official. Plenty! ‘Yang Red Cross na ‘yan (That Red Cross). I think that you would not even be able to explain, sa totoo lang (for real),” he said.

“If there is an honest-to-goodness examination of the book of records and the audit of the past years and we will review if it reflected really the real actuations of you and the others there in the Red Cross,

“I’m sure that we will find something. We believe that you are also guilty of– well, sabihin mo nang (you can say) malversation. Well, tell us.