Duterte orders SolGen to instruct COA to audit Red Cross

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte wants Solicitor General Jose Calida to instruct the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct an audit on the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

His instruction comes as he questions the character of Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the PRC and head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probing the government’s purchase of medical supplies for pandemic response.

“I am ordering the SolGen—si Calida—to write [COA chair Michael] Aguinaldo a letter and ask Aguinaldo to conduct immediately an audit diyan sa Red Cross na ‘yan (on that Red Cross),” Duterte said in a taped public address which aired Thursday morning.

Duterte has consistently pushed for a state audit on the humanitarian organization as he has accused Gordon of using the PRC to finance his electoral bids.

“May I remind the good senator: Alam mo ‘yang corruption mo sa Red Cross, buhay ang nilalaro mo diyan…ang kapital mo nga, dugo,” the President said, referring to PRC’s bloodletting activities.

[Translation: May I remind the good senator: You know your corruption in Red Cross, you’re playing with lives, your capital is blood.]

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The Palace has maintained that the PRC is subject to COA’s questioning, even with Aguinaldo saying that the COA has no mandate to audit the PRC.


Gordon has been the subject of Duterte’s recent tirades as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee continues to probe the handling of the pandemic response funds.

The hearings have scrutinized how the country’s top medical supplier, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., bagged billions of pesos in deals despite having only ₱625,000 in initial capital.

Reacting to the Senate inquiry, Duterte called Gordon a “despot” and claimed that the senator disrespects resource persons in the hearing as he always cuts them short.

Earlier, Gordon said he was "disappointed" at the President because Duterte was “making it a personal fight.”