Glass House – Standard Manila


“Gordon’s probe has been corrupted.”

“Whoever comes into equity has to come with clean hands.” – The Clean Hands Doctrine Senator Richard Gordon came with his guns. He was really pissed off. And who wouldn’t be? With all those billions of pesos earmarked for the government’s COVID-19 response supposedly lost due to questionable transactions by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, former DBM-PS Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, and anyone else would support them, everyone has the right to curse and swear. However, one thing Gordon might have forgotten is that he shoots from a greenhouse – he was so vulnerable. With his facade ready to crumble at any moment, he was an easier target than already downed hunting prey. And that’s exactly what happened to him: his cover as head of the national section of one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations was ripped off. Yesterday, lawyer Larry Gadon questioned not only Gordon’s right to serve as president of the Philippine Red Cross, but also the financial transactions of the non-governmental organization, not only for having benefited from the financial assistance from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, but also to be mandated by law. According to Gadon, if the PRC website provided the correct information that the current board of nine officers and 20 members has a two-year term that would have ended in 2020. Six of the board members are appointed by the president, and Gadon said he believes Gordon, current PRC chairman, is among those appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the board. Besides Gadon, other presidential appointees are Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sherwin Gatchalian; Chairperson Rachel Arenas of the Film and Television Review and Classification Committee; Governor Quirino Dax Cua and University of the Philippines President Danilo Concepcion. With no less than the nominating agent – the president – expressing doubts over the use of PRC funds, Gadon said Duterte can easily replace Gordon, even more now that his tenure as PRC president is supposed to be expired. Under Republic Law 11072 or the Philippine Red Cross Law of 2019, authored by Gordon, the country’s president acts as the honorary president of the PRC. Although RA 11072 recognizes that the PRC is autonomous and independent from government, it should include as board members six persons appointed by the outgoing chief executive of the country. “As the appointing authority, President Duterte has the power to revoke and recall Gordon’s appointment to the PRC board on the basis of a loss of confidence,” Gadon said. In addition to fighting for his replacement, Gadon explained that the president has the right to demand an audit of the PRC’s financial transactions, including the overall health of its finances, given the huge amount of public funds. granted by the government to the organization to support its humanitarian action and charitable programs, claiming that RA 11072 also mandates the PRC to submit an annual report of its achievements and financial situation to the president. The PRC receives a portion of the 30% charitable fund that the PCSO raises through its lottery games. In fact, I have long raised questions about the use of funds by the PRC and its management of charities. I personally know someone who told me that the PRC asks for free blood donation from the population and does not give any compensation to its donors and yet it charges anyone who wants to use blood from its stocks. He experienced it himself. Another person I know was billed for the RT-PCR test performed by the PRC – and yet she requested a refund from PhilHealth. These should not only be audited, but also warrant an investigation. If these allegations are true, I think they could no longer be called an NGO, but a commercial entity, but with government funding. If the sources are to be believed, this is how the PRC works. Get their inventory (i.e. blood donations) for free, billing the supposed recipient for the services or stock used, refunding the same amount they billed their recipients to Philhealth, and then backing them up. obtaining additional funds from the government. It could be much worse because of the power supply and utility contracts former President Fidel Ramos made during his tour of duty, not only ensuring the oligarchs not to lose a single centavo in their investments, but also giving them a fixed profit margin. Gordon should have known better. Of course, I support the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds intended for the government’s COVID-19 response, but it should have come with clean hands. Now his probe has been corrupted.

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