MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon should return the P140 million in disallowed funds he incurred, including P86 million he allegedly pocketed, when he was still chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
President Rodrigo Duterte repeated the demand in his taped weekly address that aired late Monday night.
“May I remind COA [Commission on Audit] of their constitutional duty to collect the P140 million notice of disallowance issued against SBMA during Gordon’s time?” Duterte said.
“That’s a waste of money. It could help if we could give it to Secretary Galvez to buy more [COVID-19] vaccines. That’s my purpose. That’s why I’m interested in it,” he added in Filipino.
He was referring to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the country’s vaccine manager.
Earlier, Duterte instructed the Office of the Solicitor General to prompt the COA to act on the notice of disallowance it had sent to Gordon over the supposed misused funds.
The president even threatened to file a malversation case against Gordon to recover the P86 million allegedly spent by the senator as SBMA chair.
“Pay up. Anyway, you have a lot of money. That‘s your personal [expenditure.]. That disallowance is personal,” Duterte said. “That means the P86 million was in your hands. You did not spend it for government work.”
“That’s not yours. That belongs to the people,” he went on. “And we will give to Secretary Galvez to buy medicines for COVID. We need a lot of things. There are 110 million Filipinos who, if possible, we should vaccinate so that we will no longer have a headache.”
The Philippines has so far received 77.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from different manufacturers.
The government has so far administered more than 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 21 million persons already fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease.
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