MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte insisted on having the Commission on Audit (COA) look at the finances of the Philippine Red Cross.
Duterte, in a recorded speech aired late Monday, accused PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon of "parking" his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in PRC and mixing it the group's funds. He then insisted that he will have the COA investigate the finances of PRC.
"Kung totoo ito (If this is true), you must answer it, because I am really going to insist that COA conduct an audit sa Red Cross. You cannot escape that constitutional mandate," he said.
"As a matter of fact, the mandate that you have to give me a yearly report of COA's (sic) wrongdoings or anong ginawa, hindi mo binigay. Noon ko pa sana nalaman," Duterte added.
(As a matter of fact, the mandate that you have to give me a yearly report of [Red Cross'] wrongdoings or whatever activities, but you did not submit. I should have known before.)
Duterte said he cannot go after Gordon because he has not submitted the financial reports of PRC.
"Government is left empty-handed. Sige ka habol ng taong corrupt. Paano ka namin hahabulin ngayon? Eh corrupt ka rin eh," he said.
(Government is left empty-handed. You keep on going after corrupt people. But how do we go after you? You are also corrupt.)
Duterte earlier said he will ask COA to audit the finances of PRC, even asking the Office of the Solicitor General to order the COA.
Duterte has been lashing out at Gordon in public speeches after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee began grilling former Presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, the president's former election lawyer, over allegedly shady deals involving state funds.
Yang and Lao are among those being linked to the allegedly anomalous procurement of overpriced pandemic supplies.