President Duterte insisted that he is not attacking the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) but is only demanding transparency from the organization as he insisted on having it audited by the Commission on Audit (COA).
Duterte made the statement as he slammed anew PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which is investigating the government’s purchase of alleged overpriced medical supplies last year.
In his pre-recorded public address on Monday evening, September 20, the President said that his request for an audit of the Red Cross is not an attack on the institution but just for transparency reasons.
“We are not attacking the Philippine Red Cross. We would like just to know if the resources that the government has given to it are well managed,” he said.
“We’re only asking for the same transparency from PRC Chairman Dick. Gusto mo ng transparency sa mga transaction (You wanted transparency in transactions, right)?” he added.
Last week, President Duterte ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to ask the COA to immediately start its audit on the PRC, alleging corruption looming in the organization.
Duterte has accused Gordon of using the PRC to fund his election campaign.
Malacañang said that the COA can audit the PRC, despite being a non-government organization, because it accepts funds from the government.
Early this month, President Duterte said that there will be a long legal battle if the COA will refuse to audit the Philippine Red Cross’s use of funds from the Philippine government.
Duterte likewise threatened to will stop the government’s transactions with the PRC if Gordon refuses to open up their records and submit the organization to a state audit.