A portion of Senator Richard Gordon’s Priority Development Assistance Fund that was used for Philippine Red Cross (PRC) programs were fully liquidated and audited, the PRC on Friday said.
The PRC said, “Gordon allocated his PDAF to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to fund programs as well as for the purchase of ambulance units, motorcycle units, medical supplies, and disaster preparedness equipment supplies from 2004 to 2010.”
“It was also used for livelihood training, blood service and disaster facility, fruits of hope, medical and funeral assistance, scholarship program, soup kitchen, and microfinancing,” the PRC, in a statement posted on its social media page, said.
The PRC also said “such allocation was allowed under PDAF guidelines” and that the PRC also submitted all its fund utilization reports to the DSWD Internal Audit Services for liquidation.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday threatened to file graft charges against Gordon for purportedly misusing public funds while he was chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a post he held more than 20 years ago.
Duterte said the Commission on Audit had issued a notice of disallowance for P140 million to the SBMA while Gordon headed the agency, but did not say when this report was issued.
Duterte said he would ask the Ombudsman if there was a case filed against the senator because the money was not returned.
He also slammed the senator for using the Red Cross ambulances for “cheap political gimmicks,” claiming that Gordon’s face is displayed on the Red Cross ambulances.
The President called on Gordon to settle his obligation with the SBMA. “Kindly settle or [else] I will personally see to it that a case will be filed against you. It’s malversation, the crime is malversation.”
Duterte also urged Gordon to choose between being a senator or chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.
“You are a dual personality which is banned or prohibited by law. It’s illegal actually…That is not allowed. Let go of it because I will insist that you give up one because you cannot be both,” the President said.
Gordon is the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that has been investigating the Duterte administration’s purchase of overpriced medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid Duterte’s continued attacks, more groups expressed support for Gordon.
Several alumni of the University of the Philippines Diliman recently launched an online petition denouncing what they call the “unjust persecution” of Gordon and the PRC by Duterte and his allies.
On Sept. 21, De La Salle Manila alumni of grade school, high school, and college classes of 1961, 1965, and 1970, respectively, conveyed support for the Blue Ribbon’s recent investigation and lauded Gordon and other senators.