PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to ask the Commission on Audit (COA) to immediately audit the government funds given to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
“I am ordering the Solicitor General to write (COA chairman Michael) Aguinaldo a letter and ask him to conduct immediately an audit diyan sa Red Cross,” Duterte said during his public address aired on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo earlier said it is not possible to audit the PRC as it is not a government agency.
COA Public Information Office chief Jonathan Beltran, for his part, said the agency has not been remiss in its duty to audit government funds being given to non-government organizations, including PRC.
The PRC also said it is not subject to audit by the COA, although it gets “small donations” from various government agencies such as Department of Health, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
It said the funds were properly liquidated.
Duterte wants the PRC funds audited because the organization is headed by Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee which is investigating the deficiencies in the use of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response funds of the Department of Health (DOH). (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / Sunstar Philippines)