By Lance Arevada


President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into the finances of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), a non-government humanitarian organization that is not part of its mandate, after accusing its chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon, of using the agency as his “milking cow.”

This comes as Gordon, who currently leads the Senate investigation on allegedly overpriced medical supplies purchased during the height of pandemic, earned the ire of the President once again in his Talk to the People on Thursday night.

“Ang gusto kong makita 'yung audit talaga ng totoo ng Red Cross. And maybe I can --- I will demand, the executive department will demand that we be furnished copies of your audit taken by COA, and COA to give us the copy so that we can review also what you have audited,” Duterte said.

The Philippine Red Cross, however, is not included in the mandate of COA to conduct annual audit reports as it is an independent humanitarian organization that is not part of the government.

While the COA can still conduct special audits on non-government organizations upon approved requests, no audit has been published so far on the PRC.

With the President seemingly unaware of this information in his talk, he still urged Gordon to “be open to everybody” by presenting the finances of his organization.

“Iyan lang ang gusto ko tanungin. Eh kasi ito si Gordon nagmamalinis eh. Akala mo walang ginawang --- plenty.... Iyang Red Cross na 'yan I think that you would not be even be able to explain sa totoo lang,” Duterte said.

Once his office received copies of the audits he demanded on Red Cross, the President said he is sure that he would find a malversation case against Gordon.

“If there is an honest-to-goodness examination of the book of records and the audit of the past years and we will review if it reflected really the real actuations of you and the others there in the Red Cross, I'm sure that we will find something and we believe that you are also guilty of ---well, sabihin mo ng malversation,” Duterte added.

‘Milking cow’

Gordon has been the subject of the President’s rants in his Talk to the People this week, in which he has been insulted for being fat on Tuesday night and now has been also accused of using Red Cross as his “milking cow” to fund his political plans in the 2022 Elections.

“Alam mo ginagamit mo itong Red Cross, and I dare say na ginamit mo talaga ito para sa elections. Ito ‘yung milking cow mo eh sa totoo lang. You have been there for quite a time,” the President said.

For Duterte, the senator’s biggest fault was his threats at the start of the pandemic last year to stop the testing conducted by Red Cross due to the government’s failure to pay its P1.1-billion to the agency.

“Alam mo --- I really do not know, but I cannot see the rationale of your statement na you threatened government with something which ought to be done by you irrespective of whether or not may pera ba o wala,” he said.

Duterte also blasted Gordon for its “unethical” role of holding the position as Red Cross chairman while being an elected senator.

“Alam mo kasi if Red Cross is also a government agency, tapos member ka ng Congress, tumatakbo ka rin at nanalo ka, and you are holding the Red Cross, you are the top honcho there and being a senator and at the same time, eh medyo malabo yata ‘yang ginagawa mo,” he said.

The President added: “You know, it is good to be posturing as a clean and --- go around painting other people black. Alam mo, madali ‘yan eh. Gusto mong magmukha kang puti, pinturahan mo lahat ‘yung tao sa katabi mo itim and talagang ikaw ‘yung maputi sa lahat. Iyan ang totoo diyan.”