Senators urge to hold former Marine general Alexander Balutan liable for alleged corruptions in his time as general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
In a statement, Sen. Panfilo Lacson admonished Malacañang to file criminal charges against Balutan for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on early Saturday. Balutan who was appointed head of the PCSO in September 2016 was recently removed for said charges.
The senator added, “When we conducted senate hearings on the possible corruption in the PCSO under his watch in relation to STL (small-town lottery) operations, I kept asking myself – what has happened to this man? If only his demeanor and other data gathered by our committee in those hearings, I am inclined to think there is basis in his sacking as PCSO Gen. Manager.”
Lacson heads the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement, which led an inquiry last year of January on supposed corruption relating to PCSO’s STL operations.
Balutan also drew flak over an allegedly extravagant PCSO Christmas party in 2017; the agency expended P6 million for.
“This guy should have been removed sooner – unconscionably spending 6 million pesos on a grand Christmas party. The money was meant to help indigents who are lining up [at] PCSO’s door steps,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian commented said on social media.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo cited on Friday that Balutan was fired “due to serious allegations of corruption.”
“Those who fail to observe the same will inexorably suffer the harsh and punitive consequences,” Panelo stated and withheld further information.
“We hope that this will serve as a stern warning to all government officials and employees that there are no sacred cows in the current administration, especially when it comes to serving the Filipino people with integrity and loyalty.”
Meanwhile, PCSO deputy spokesperson Florante Solmerin, appealed that Balutan was not fired but “opted to resign from his post for personal reasons.”