MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday said the Commission on Audit (COA) has the power to look into the financial books of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) since it is an entity that receives subsidy or equity from the government.
“Under the constitution, the COA has the power to examine on a post-audit basis all accounts pertaining to the expenditure or use of fund by any non-governmental entity receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the government,” Guevarra told reporters.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called for an audit of the PRC headed by Senator Richard Gordon.
“The Philippine Red Cross is one such entity receiving subsidy or equity from the government through the instrumentality of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,” Guevarra said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said COA can look into the PRC’s memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Metro Manila mayors for the Covid-19 testing, as well as its MOA to get advance payment of PHP100 million from Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for testing service.
Roque added that the advance payment clause under the MOA violates the PRC Charter and Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which states that only reimbursement, not advance payment, in the distribution of goods and services, is allowed.
Roque also questioned the PRC’s move to impose a rate of PHP3,500 per Covid-19 test, even if the machines used for the testing are donated.
He said the cost of Covid-19 is higher compared to the PHP2,077 that PRC should have charged for each test since the machines it is using were donated. (PNA)