COA agrees to audit Philippines Red Cross – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has agreed to audit government funds received and utilized by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on the insistence of President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his tirades against Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs both the PRC and the Senate blue ribbon committee that has been probing alleged anomalous supply contracts of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
“I am pleased to learn about the prompt response of COA [Chairman] Roman Michael Aguinaldo to audit the Philippine Red Cross,” Duterte said in a taped speech that aired late Monday night.
“Gordon said the Red Cross cannot be audited,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino. “But I called, of course through channels, I called Chairman Aguinaldo and he has signed a memorandum dated Sept. 23, 2021.”
Duterte said Aguinaldo has directed heads and directors of COA officials to submit to its fraud audit office a compilation of their audit findings per sector on the subsidies and funds received by the PRC from January 2016 to September 2021.
“This is really a very welcome development, and I commend our solicitor general for his quick [action], as well as COA Chairman Aguinaldo for paving the way for the long-overdue audit of the Philippine Red Cross,” Duterte said.
Gordon has been the subject of Duterte’s recent tirades as he leads the probe into alleged overpriced COVID-19 medical supplies that the government bought from Pharmally.
Stepping his attacks against Gordon, Duterte had also ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to request COA to look into the PRC’s financial records.
The COA has said it has no jurisdiction to audit the PRC given its nature as a nongovernment organization.
However, the COA is also authorized to audit funds released to NGOs upon request by proper authorities as stated in COA Circular 95-003.