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PCSO ready to face graft probe

Malacañang said Thursday it had passed a letter asking the Office of the Ombudsman to probe the corruption allegations against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager Alexander Balutan following his resignation over corruption allegations. 

The Palace made the statement even as the PCSO welcomed the conduct of a probe into the corruption allegations against it.

“The PCSO is open to all forms of investigation and encourages its officials and employees to subject themselves to any formal investigation by any investigating body,” PCSO spokesman Marissa Medrano said in a statement to reporters.

“The board and its management and its employees stand by its value of professionalism. If a person has nothing to hide, then by all means an investigation by an independent investigating body will be very much welcome.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said he referred Balutan’s case to the Ombudsman after Balutan requested a full and impartial probe to clear his name. 

“We are referring the case of Balutan since he is requesting to be investigated,” Panelo told reporters, adding his letter was sent to the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday. 

He said the others involved in Balutan’s case would also be affected as soon as the Ombudsman starts its investigation. 

“He was the only one who made the request to be investigated, but once the investigation commences, everyone will be affected,” Panelo said. 

Just last week, Panelo announced that Balutan was sacked by President Rodrigo Duterte because of the corruption allegations against him. Three days later, he said Balutan had resigned.  

Panelo said Balutan resigned “out of delicadeza because of the serious allegations of corruption” against him. The President even accepted Balutan’s “irrevocable resignation.” 

Panelo said the allegations against Balutan included the House of Representatives’ investigation showing that the Commission on Audit had found that certain Small-Town Lottery areas had failed to meet their quotas. Despite this, the licenses of the STLs were renewed with cash allegedly brought to the PCSO office. 

Last year, Balutan quarreled with PCSO board member Sandra Cam who accused him of spending P10 million for a Christmas party in a five-star hotel in December 2017.  With PNA

Topics: Malacañang , Office of the Ombudsman , Alexander Balutan , Salvador Panelo , Rodrigo Duterte
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