Duterte threatens to end gov't transactions with Red Cross

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Duterte threatens to end gov't transactions with Red Cross
Undated file photo shows Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon inside one of the organization's laboratories.
The STAR / Boy Santos, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to terminate all government transactions with the Philippine Red Cross if it continues to refuse to be audited, in an escalation of the word war between the chief executive and the humanitarian organization’s chairman, Sen. Dick Gordon.

“I will write you a letter to open up your records,” Duterte told Gordon during a taped Cabinet meeting aired on Saturday. “Ngayon, kung ayaw mo, mapipilitan akong (Now, if you don’t want to, I will be forced to) totally disassociate with you. I will stop the national government from having transactions with you in any manner.”

One such transaction that may be affected should Duterte make good on his threat is the partnership between the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the PRC for COVID-19 testing, which has brought down the cost of tests from the humanitarian organization to the cheapest in the market.

Duterte had previously taken aim at this partnership, questioning the PRC for pressing the government to pay for RT-PCR tests that the humanitarian organization conducted in the early months of the pandemic.

The president has been ramping up his attacks on Gordon while the senator, who also chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, leads the probe into Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., a company that was just established in 2019 and has bagged bulk of the government’s pandemic contracts worth P8.68 billion despite having only P625,000 as paid-up capital.

After audit reports bared deficiencies in the government’s spending of pandemic funds, Duterte has been bent on having the PRC audited by state auditors, despite the fact that it is a private organization which is beyond the scope of the Commission on Audit.

Gordon has said that Duterte’s tirades against him were attempts to distract the people from corruption allegations hounding the administration.




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