President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his departure statement at the Ninoy International Airport before leaving for the Republic of Korea where he is scheduled for a three-day on June 3, 2018. The President is set to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a summit which aims to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte should be allowed to “say what he wants to say” and that it would be up to the Philippin

e Red Cross to interpret the chief executive’s “mukhang pera” remark.

“Let’s allow na lang the president to say what he wants to say and let that remain on record. Bahala na ang PRC to construe what the president said,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Duterte fired off the tirade after being presented with the effects of PRC’s testing halt on the country’s testing capacity.

The PRC had suspended its free Covid-19 testing services for two weeks due to state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp’s (PhilHealth) accumulation of a P930.99-million debt.

In a Teleradyo interview, PRC chairman Richard Gordon said accusations against the organization were misplaced.

“Hindi kami mukhang pera. Pero sabi ko lang, dahan-dahan naman sa pananalita because nakakatulong naman kami. Hindi naman kami umutang, sila ang umutang, sila nagpa-test, ginawa namin. ‘Di ba dapat bayaran ninyo?… I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt out of respect to the president,” he said.

The PRC charges PhilHealth P3,500 for every test it administers. PhilHealth’s debt lies at about P377 million as of Friday. John Ezekiel J. Hirro