Noting the funds were all liquidated and approved, Senator Richard Gordon confirmed Tuesday that part of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the so-called “pork barrel” was given to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in 2010.
The senator made the admission days after President Rodrigo Duterte questioned Gordon if he “parked” P88 million in pork barrel funds with the PRC.
In a radio interview, Gordon, also the chairperson of Red Cross, admitted that it was true.
“We gave it to the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). At that time, it was allowed,” said Gordon.
He said the funds were liquidated and approved by the DSWD.
The senator added the fund transfer was not flagged by the Commission on Audit.
Gordon urged the President not to drag the Red Cross in their rift.
Asserting he did not steal anything, Gordon told Duterte to just attack him.
“It’s difficult because the President is angry…Don’t get angry. You’re already involving the Red Cross.”
The senator also castigated Duterte for blocking the investigation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the procurement of alleged overpriced medical equipment.
“You’re blocking the investigation of the Senate. Why are you mad at us? We’re just doing our jobs,” he said.
Duterte has previously said the Senate investigation was hindering government operations as people tasked to fight the coronavirus infections were summoned to attend the Blue Ribbon committee hearings.
The senator has also challenged Duterte, whom he called a “bully” to do his worst.
Earlier, Duterte asked Gordon whether it was true that he “parked” at least P88 million in PDAF with the Red Cross.
“I want to know – did you accept P88 million? From your PDAF [priority development assistance fund]? If this is true… You parked your PDAF and co-mingled it with the money of the Red Cross. What you got – now the money is lost forever, if this is true?” the President said in his pre-recorded Talk to the People aired late Monday evening.
Duterte, however, admitted that he was unsure of the figure because “somebody just whispered it in my ear.”
“If this is not true, then forgive me. But if it is true, you must answer it. I am going to insist that the Commission on Audit conduct an audit on the Red Cross,” the President added.