MANILA – Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon has confirmed that he has given a portion of his then-Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) but stressed they were allowed at the time, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he diverted his then-pork barrel to the aid organization.
In a taped weekly briefing, Duterte said, “Alam mo, Dick, madali masyadong --- it’s easy to accuse, it’s easy to accuse somebody, government, just for mileage. Kilala kita eh. You have been there for so many years, wala akong nakita mag --- well, except for the itong kay (Janet Lim) Napoles.”
“Gusto kong malaman na tumanggap ka ba ng --- was it P88 million? Sa PDAF mo? Ito kung totoo lang, idinikit mo sa PDAF, pinarking mo doon ‘yung ano mo PDAF mo. So you co-mingled it with the money of the Congress --- ah of the Red Cross and of Congress ‘yung nakuha mo. Ngayon, the money is lost forever. It cannot be accounted for --- if this is true, kung totoo itong pinarking mo talaga,” he added.
“Oo, totoo yon. Binigay namin sa (Department of Social Welfare and Development), ang sabi ko, at that time allowed yun,” Gordon said in a TeleRadyo interview.
“Meron akong kukunin na mga, halimbawa mangosteen sa Sulu, ilalagay namin sa C-130, ibibigay namin yung mangosteen at the right prices para hindi na, para yung mga tao imbis na bumili ng AK-47 o mangulimbat ay magkakaroon ng incentive para magkaroon sila ng hanapbuhay,” he explained.
“Eh lahat naman yan pati livelihood, pati yung mga tinatawag nating mga tinutulungan na mga mahihirap, and'yan lahat 'yan. At 'yan ay na-liquidate na nga at approved ng DSWD. Wala namang angal ang (Commission on Audit), okay naman yan.”
The senator stressed that this happened more than ten years ago.
“Tapos na noon pang 2010 yan,” he said.
Duterte has been lashing out at Gordon, who heads the Senate committee looking into government’s alleged anomalous transactions in the purchase of face masks, face shields, and personal protective equipment from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
He has accused Gordon of using his position at the PRC for his political career, and has even asked him to step down from the organization.
He has also ordered the government's lead lawyer to instruct the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into the organization’s finances.
Duterte also alleged that the PRC erred multiple times in conducting COVID-19 tests in the country.
The PRC has said it stands by the integrity of the test results from its laboratories, but added that it acknowledges “the possibility of false positive results since no test is 100% accurate.”
--TeleRadyo, 22 September 2021