MANILA, Philippines — Either be a senator or else chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), President Rodrigo Duterte said, taking aim again at Sen. Richard Gordon, during his second taped briefing of the week that aired late Wednesday night.
“That’s the problem with you: You’re a double agent,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino. “To me, under the law, you must give up either the Red Cross. Or if you want to still be a senator, then be a senator, not [chairman of the] Red Cross.”
“In my view, you find the two positions very lucrative,” he added.
According to Duterte, Gordon holding the two positions goes against the fundamental principle of the PRC – neutrality — so that the PRC “to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political racial, religious or ideological nature.”
Then Duterte accused Gordon again of diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the now-defunct pork barrel of lawmakers, to the Red Cross.
“Do not say that you and the Red Cross are separate identities. That’s bullshit,” Duterte said.
“You are a dual personality, which is banned or prohibited by law. You should have been sued long ago,” he added.
Duterte pointed out that not even Cabinet members could be officers of a corporation or any other business entity dealing with the government.
“That’s really prohibited. Let go of that [Red Cross] because I will insist that you give up one of them — because you cannot be both,” Duterte said.
However, the Supreme Court had already resolved in 2009 that Gordon could keep both his position as a senator and as PRC chairman, the PRC not being government office nor a for-profit organization.
The law prohibits anyone from holding two concurrent positions in government or another position in a private company that could give rise to a conflict of interest.
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