Gordon dares Duterte to prove he pocketed PDAF given to Red Cross
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday dared President Rodrigo Duterte to prove that the lawmaker pocketed millions of his previous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) given to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
“Patunayan niya kung binulsa ko. Wala akong binubulsa,” Gordon, who chairs the PRC, said in a Teleradyo interview.
(Prove that I pocketed funds. I never pocketed anything.)
The senator confirmed that he transferred a portion of his then-PDAF to the PRC in 2010, adding that the transfer of the said funds had been allowed at the time.
“Oo totoo yun, binigay namin sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). Ang sabi ko at that time, allowed ‘yun. Meron akong kukunin na, halimbawa, mangosteen sa Sulu. Lalagay namin sa C-130. Bibilhin namin ‘yung mangosteen at the right prices para ‘yung mga tao imbes na bumili ng AK-47 o mangulimbat ay magkakaroon ng incentive para magkaroon sila ng hanapbuhay,” Gordon explained.
(Yes, that’s true. We gave it to the DSWD. I said at that time that it was allowed at that time. For example, I will get some mangosteen from Sulu. We will put them in a C-130 plane. We will buy those goods for the right prices so that residents would have an incentive to have a decent livelihood instead of buying AK-47 rifles or steal.)
“Yan ay na-liquidate na at approved naman ng DSWD. Wala naman angal ang COA (Commission on Audit). Tapos na, noong 2010 ‘yan,” he added.
(The funds used were liquidated already and have been approved by the DSWD. COA did not flag those. It’s was back in 2010.)
In a taped address aired last September 20, Duterte claimed Gordon “co-mingled” P88 million of his PDAF with the PRC.
“You co-mingled it with the money of the Red Cross and of Congress and you took it. Now the money is lost forever. It cannot be accounted [for] anymore,” the President had said.
Duterte, however, admitted he did “not have the correct figure.”
Gordon surmised that Duterte is now bringing up the transfer of his PDAF years ago was due to his “anger” against the Senate.
“Ang hirap ngayon kasi medyo nagagalit ang President, di lang medyo, galit na galit. Eh, huwag naman po kayo magalit. Pati Red Cross idadamay ‘nyo. Ako na lang ang tirahin ‘nyo ng tirahin,” the senator said.
(The problem is the President is a bit angry, well not a bit, but he’s outraged. But he should not get mad and even drag Red Cross into this. Just lash out at me.)
“Wala naman tayo ninanakaw diyan…In fact, palagi napupuri ang Red Cross ng international community,” he added.
(We are not stealing…In fact, the international community lauds the Red Cross.)
The Senate, particularly Gordon, has been at the receiving end of backlash from the President as the chamber continues to look into the controversial purchases made by the government last year.
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