Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday confirmed that a portion of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was given to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in 2010, but stressed that the funds were all liquidated and approved.
“Oo, totoo ‘yun. Binigay namin sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). Ang sabi ko at that time, allowed ‘yun,” Gordon, the chairman of the PRC, said in a radio interview.
(Yes, that’s true. We gave it to the DSWD. I said that, at that time, it was allowed.)
“Meron akong kukunin na, halimbawa, mangosteen sa Sulu. Lalagay namin sa C-130. Bibigay namin 'yung mangosteen at the right prices para ‘yung mga tao imbes na bumili ng AK-47 o mangulimbat ay magkakaroon ng incentive para magkaroon sila ng hanapbuhay,” he added.
(For example, I’ll get mangosteens in Sulu. I’ll place it in a C-130. We’ll give the mangosteen at the right prices so the people, instead of buying an AK-47 or engaging in smuggling, will have an incentive to get livelihood.)
Gordon issued the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte asked him this week whether he parked P88 million of pork barrel funds in the PRC.
He stressed that the funds were liquidated and approved by the DSWD.
“‘Yan ay na-liquidate at approved naman ng DSWD. Wala naman angal ang COA. Tapos na ng 2010 ‘yan,” he said.
(This was liquidated and approved by the DSWD. There were no qualms from COA. It was already over in 2010.)
PDAF is the discretionary fund made available to members of Congress.
Gordon was a senator from 2004 to 2010, then returned to the Senate in 2016.
“Ang hirap ngayon kasi medyo nagagalit ang President… Eh, huwag naman po kayo magalit. Pati Red Cross idadamay 'nyo. Ako na lang ang tirahin 'nyo ng tirahin. Wala naman tayo ninanakaw diyan… In fact, palagi napupuri ang Red Cross sa buong mundo,” he added.
(It’s difficult because the President is angry… Don’t get angry. You're already involving the Red Cross. Just attack me. I did not steal anything… In fact, the Red Cross is always praised across the world.)
Duterte’s tirades continued against Gordon amid the Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation into the alleged overpriced COVID-19 supplies procured by the government.
Gordon has slammed Duterte for defending individuals being linked to the allegedly overpriced medical supplies, calling him a "cheap politician."
“Hinaharang niya ‘yung imbestigasyon ng COA. Hinaharang niya ‘yung imbestigasyon ng Senado. Bakit kayo magagalit sa akin? Tungkulin namin ‘yan,” he said.
(You’re blocking the investigation of COA. You’re blocking the investigation of the Senate. Why are you mad at us? We’re just doing our jobs.)
Duterte has previously said that the Senate investigation is hindering government operations.
“Hindi naman ako nagagalit sa inyo. Bumira kayo ng bumira, okay lang sa amin ‘yan. Mapapatunayan namin ‘lahat yan. Wala kaming tinatago,” Gordon said.
(I don’t have anything against you. Just keep going, that’s fine with us. We’ll prove everything. We are not hiding anything.)
The senator has dared Duterte to do his worst, saying he is not afraid of the President. —KG, GMA News