Palace insists COA has jurisdiction over Red Cross
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday insisted that the Commission on Audit (COA) has jurisdiction over and can conduct audits on the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which is a non-government organization.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he wanted COA to conduct an audit on PRC as he accused its chairman Senator Richard Gordon of using the organization’s funds for his previous election campaigns.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque cited Article 9 of the Constitution which states that COA can conduct a post-audit basis on all accounts “pertaining to expenditure or usage of funds by non-government entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the government.”
Roque also cited Republic Act No. 10072 or the Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009 that tasks the organization to submit an annual report to the President containing its activities and financial condition. The law also provides that the President is an honorary president of the Red Cross.
Further, Roque cited COA Circular No. 96-003 which states that COA can conduct special audits on non-government organizations on a “case-to-case basis” and “upon request by proper authorities or as determined by the chairman.”
“So, may basehan ba ang sinasabi ni Presidente na humingi sa COA ng special audit para sa PRC? Mayroon,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
(So does the President’s pronouncement asking COA to conduct a special audit for PRC have basis? It does.)
Roque said the government wants to look into the conduct of COVID-19 RT-PCR testing of Red Cross and its memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Metro Manila mayors and with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
PRC allegedly asked PhilHealth to give an advanced payment worth P100 million for COVID-19 testing “for mobilization through interim reimbursement mechanism.”
“Ang advanced payment clause sa MOA ay klarong paglabag sa PRC charter at Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Reimbursement in the distribution of goods and services ang pinapayagan. Reimbursement, walang advanced payment,” Roque said.
(The advance payment clause in the MOA is a clear violation of the PRC charter and Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Reimbursement in the distribution of goods and services is allowed. Reimbursement, not advanced payment.)
The government also wants to know the machines used by the Red Cross and whether they are donated or not.
Roque also added that since 2016, the organization has not submitted a report on its activities and financial condition.
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