Why avoid government audit if you're not hiding anything?
This was Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's question Monday, Sept. 13 to Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
In a virtual press briefing, Roque said that President Duterte was "serious" in his threat to cut all transactions with the Internationally-recognized aid organization if it continues to refuse to be audited by the Commission on Audit (COA).
"Ang tanong ko lang naman po, kung walang itinatago, bakit ayaw magpa-audit? (My question is, if it's not hiding anything, why do you refuse to be audited?)" Roque said.
Gordon's contention is that PRC could not be audited by the govenrment as it is a private entity. This was challenged by both Duterte and Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo during the pre-recorded "Talk to the People" public briefing aired last Saturday.
Roque has echoed their position.
"Malaki naman po ang pondo na naibibigay ng government sa Red Cross galing sa PAGCOR, galing sa PCSO (The government gives huge amounts of funds to Red Cross via the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office ).
"Kinakailangan po kasi sumunod sa sinasabi ng Saligang Batas na basta pondo ng gobyerno, pwedeng i-audit ng Commission on Audit (The Constitutional provision that all funds of government may be audited by the Commission on Audit should be followed)," the spokesperson said.
President Duterte has also said that it could be considered a "dereliction of duty" if COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo fails to audit the PRC.