Duterte's ultimatum to Gordon: 'Submit Red Cross to auditing, or we quarrel'

President Duterte has given an ultimatum of sorts to Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman, Senator Richard Gordon.

President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Senator Richard Gordon (Photos from Malacañang, MANILA BULLETIN)

In his taped "Talk to the People" public address that was aired Saturday morning, Sept. 11, Duterte threatened Gordon with actions such as directing the national government to "disassociate" with the PNRC as well as digging up alleged "personal dirt" on the senator.

Gordon has refused to have the PRC audited by the Commission on Audit (COA). He has also reportedly failed to submit the organization's annual financial report to the Office of the President.

"Either you submit to an auditing procedure or we quarrel. Pag mag-quarrel (If we quarrel), do your worst because I will do mine," Duterte said.

"I'm sure I will find plenty of ...basta plenty when we start with you, Senator Gordon," he added.

During the briefing, the President again disputed Gordon's claims that PRC--a private entity--cannot be subjected to government audit.

"It is not totally independent because it has been receiving financial aid from the Republic of the Philippines. Kumukuha ka pa dyan sa PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) ng pera (You even take money from PCSO)," he said.

"Now, any money belonging to the Republic of the Philippines given to an agency, whatever be the nature, if you're operating here, and you're receiving money and spend it, you are accountable to the government and therefore an audit is in order," stressed Duterte, who is a lawyer.

"So in the coming days I will write you a letter to open up your records because I will also request Aguinaldo, and I'm sure he knows his business, that there is money in Red Cross belonging to the government that he has to look into," he said.

"Kung ayaw mo, mapipilitan akong (If you refuse then I will be forced to) totally disassociate with you. I will not, I will stop the national government and all from having transactions with you in any manner. Wala akong pakialam, hindi ako magbigay ng pera sa 'yo (I don't care, I will stip giving money to you). As far as I'm concerned, Red Cross does not exist," he further said.

Duterte also wondered out loud why PRC hasn't been providing him with their annual financial reports , which is required under Republic Act (RA) 10072 or the Philippine Red Cross Act.

"I'm looking for the annual reports...the Red Cross must submit to the President an annual report. Since then, wala akong natanggap. Anim na taon na ako. Mr. Senator Gordon, nasaan na ang report? (I've never received any. I've been President for six years. Mr. Senator Gordon, where is the report?)" he asked.

The tough-talking Chief Executive then mentioned several names as if to tell Gordon that he has a lot of information about him.

"Mr. Gordon kilala mo ba tong si Glen Tan ng Subic (do you know this Glen Tan of Subic)? Do you know him? Because he knows you very well. Well enough to talk about you.

"Kumusta itong si (How is) Gwendolyn Pao? That lady from Sulu na nag-join sa (who joined the) Red Cross. Pakisagot lang ito (Please answer this)," Duterte said.

Duterte also associated the lawmaker with "dubious characters" such as former Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs Group chief Eduardo Acierto, whom he accused of helping Communist rebels get hold of AK47 rifles.

Gordon earned Duterte's ire with the supposed unfair manner that he has been carrying out the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's inquiries on alleged corruption in government in the time of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.