Duterte threatens to stop gov’t transactions with Red Cross
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to stop government transactions with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) if it will not submit financial records for auditing.
During his taped public address aired on Saturday, Duterte said he will write a letter to PRC, a private entity, to open up its financial records for government audit.
“In the coming days, I will write you a letter to open up your records because I will also request [COA chair Michael] Aguinaldo—and I am sure he knows his business—that there is money in Red Cross belonging to the government which he has to look into,” Duterte said, addressing PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon.
“Kung ayaw mo, mapipilitan akong totally disassociate with you. I will stop the national government from having transactions with you in any manner. Wala akong pakialam, hindi ako magbigay ng pera sayo,” he added
“As far as I am concerned, Red Cross does not exist. When you can create a controversy there or a crisis, I do not mind because I said I am on the right track. Either you submit to an auditing procedure or we quarrel,” Duterte further said.
Duterte made the threat as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which Gordon chairs, investigates the procurement of alleged overpriced medical supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Duterte, COA can audit PRC because it has been receiving financial aid from the government.
“If it (PRC) is totally independent, you are correct. But it is not totally independent because you have been receiving financial aid from the Republic of the Philippines at kumukuha ka pa dyan sa PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) ng pera,” he said.
“Now, any money belonging to the Republic of the Philippines given to an agency, whatever the nature, if you are operating here and you receive the money and spend it, you are accountable to the government and therefore an audit is in order,” he added.
COA, however, earlier said it has no jurisdiction to audit the PRC as the latter is a non-government humanitarian organization.
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