Gordon on Duterte: ‘Iniimbestigahan siya ng co-equal branch of government’

Gordon: PhilHealth owes the Philippine Red Cross P570 million

MANILA – Philippine Red Cross chairman Sen. Richard Gordon on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response, saying it is has “no vision.”

“Talagang wala, walang vision (There is really no vision). And when there is no vision, our country perishes. That is what we are having today,” Gordon said in a business forum.

“That lack of vision, mainly being shown in little gimmicks that we see once in a while,” he said.

Duterte earlier accused Gordon of using the Philippine Red Cross as a “milking cow” for his political career, as the senator continuous to lead a Senate investigation into the government’s procurement of overpriced pandemic supplies from a company linked to fraudulent activities.

“There is no fluidity, there is no consistency… and as we see today, our institutions are being challenged like COA,” he said, referring to the Commission on Audit.

Duterte has criticized the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the COA as the two panels flagged several questionable expenditures of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) during the pandemic.

Duterte had even mocked Gordon’s physique, saying the senator was too fat and had ugly hair.

“I am the favorite target of the President right now, and it’s okay,” the senator said.

“I just want the President to know that… iniimbestigahan siya ng (he is being investigated by a) co-equal branch of government,” he said.

Members of the business sector who attended the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) event also voiced their dismay over the handling of the pandemic.

“We, in the business sector, suffered a catastrophic episode due to this pandemic, with over 4 million jobs lost, and 100,000 business closed, which are mostly micro-small, and medium enterprises,” said Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, president of the PCCI.

“We are frustrated over government’s penchant for declaring lockdowns as its primary tool to stem the spread of the virus,” he said.

“And yet, our problems are not over. Lockdowns have caused more problems, with the millions of lost jobs and foregone income, not to mention the damage to mental health of many of our countrymen.”

Several PCCI members who are running private hospitals also called for reforms in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp, stressing the state insurer has yet to pay their debts. 

PhilHealth also owes the Philippine Red Cross some P570 million, Gordon said.

“I’m not one of those blame throwers… but ang importante (what is important) is you must make sure the leaders have vision,” he said.

“They know how to choose the right people. They don’t choose on the basis of compadrasco. They don’t choose on the basis of fraternal ties. They don’t choose on the basis of provincial ties. They don’t choose the leaders of our country by way of ‘masunurin sila sa leader,'” he said.

Gordon said he has yet to announce if he will be running for any post next year.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is expected to reconvene on September 7 to continue its investigation into the questionable spending of pandemic funds.

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