PRRD to PH Red Cross: Submit to an auditing procedure

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Senator Richard Gordon to allow the Commission on Audit (COA) to thoroughly examine the financial records of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

“Either you submit to an auditing procedure or we quarrel. ‘Pag mag-quarrel (If we quarrel), do your worse because I will do mine,” Duterte told Gordon, chair of PRC, in a pre-recorded Talk to the People delivered Friday night but aired Saturday morning.

Duterte made the statement as he expressed his dissatisfaction with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, headed by Gordon, on the government’s procurement of medical supplies in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Duterte has threatened that if Gordon refuses to allow the humanitarian organization to undertake a governmental audit, he may be obliged to cut the government’s connections with the PRC.

Ngayon, kung ayaw mo, mapipilitan akong (Now, if you don’t want it, I would be forced to) totally disassociate with you. I will stop the national government and all from having transactions with you in any manner,” he said.

Under Republic Act 10072 signed in April 2010, the PRC is acknowledged as an “independent, autonomous, nongovernment organization (NGO) auxiliary to the authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the Humanitarian Field.”

Malacañang previously stated that the COA can conduct a special audit of the PRC’s finances, citing Article 9 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that the state auditing body has the authority to examine all accounts pertaining to the uses of funds by the PRC that is “receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the government” on a post-audit basis.

Duterte also warned to cut off financing to the PRC.

Wala akong pakialam. Hindi ako magbigay ng pera sa’yo, saka as far as I’m concerned, Red Cross does not exist. You can create a controversy there or a crisis, I do not mind because I said I am on the right track,” he said.

Duterte insisted that COA has the authority to audit PRC’s expenses because the organization is “getting financial aid” from the Philippine government.

He stated that he will ask the COA to investigate how the PRC is spending the funds provided by the national government “in the coming days”.

“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,” Duterte said.

However, Duterte admitted that the COA previously stated that it has no jurisdiction over PRC.

Nonetheless, he stated that he is prepared for a “long, legal” battle to “persuade” COA to perform an audit of PRC’s financial records.

“I said this will involve a long, legal battle but I am prepared to go into it and demand really the accountability of Senator Gordon and all of them in the Red Cross to account for the money that was given by the government of the Philippines for the longest time,” Duterte said.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.