President Duterte has cited a Supreme Court (SC) ruling that ordered Senator Richard Gordon to return P86 million in disallowed expenses he incurred when he was still Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman.
“Na-disallow ‘yan (That was disallowed) and you appealed. I think it has reached the Supreme Court (SC) and the COA (Commission on Audit) was vindicated there,” he said late Monday night, Sept. 27 during the pre-recorded “Talk to the People” public briefing.
Duterte first brought up the issue during his Sept. 23 public briefing, wherein he said that the total amount COA issued a notice of disallowance for based on its audit of SBMA was P140 million. He said that out of this figure, P86 million went to Gordon.
According to Duterte’s briefing last week, COA belatedly issued the notice of disallowance in November 2016.
“November 2016 pa ang disallowance, bakit wala pa ang kaso hanggang ngayon? (The disallaowance was back in November 2016, why isn’t there no case yet?) Or at the very least, napunta na sana sa Ombudsman ‘yan (that Ombudsman should take cognizance of it).”
Gordon won a Senate seat in May of that year. Before that, he was SBMA chairman from March 13, 1992 to June 30, 1998.
“Inapela mo pala yun sa Korte Suprema (So you appealed it to the Supreme Court). What happened was that natalo ka (you lost), and the verdict was final and executory na. So no appeal, no nothing except for you to pay,” the Chief Executive said Monday.
Although Duterte gave no more details about the SC decision, it follows that it was handed down when Gordon was already a senator. The President hasn’t given a time frame when the actual disallowance of the P140 million took place.
“Ngayon, ‘yung bayaran mo dapat disallowance ang tawag niyan kami sa mga gobyerno. Iyan ang pagkaalam namin, pagkaalam ko, sa gobyerno man ako nagtatrabaho, ang disallowance is ibalik mo ‘yung pera na hindi sa iyo (Now, what you need to return is called a disallaowance by us people in government. That’s what we know, what I know, I work in government too, disallowance means you should return the money that isn’t yours).
“So nasaan na yung pera? (So where is the money?) You appear white because you have painted everybody black there. Please answer me. Ano na nangyari sa kaso mo? (What has happened to your case?)” Duterte said.
He underscored that there are more worries for Gordon in connection with the missing P86 million that the latter “personally took”.
“That is the civil side of it. Isauli mo yung pera (Return the money) that is your civil liability. But there is another component of that…your criminal liability. Your criminal liability mo, yun yung malversation (that is malversation),” he said.
“I’m sure by this time, marami nang nagsulat sa either Ombudsman or…(a lot of people have already written to the Ombudsman),” Duterte said, teasing that an investigation on Gordon may be forthcoming.
“I think it is high time to expose these people in the Senate who try so very hard to personify themselves as incorruptible and clean,” he added.