PCSO WELCOMES PROBE INTO CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
MANILA — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday welcomed the conduct of a probe into corruption allegations in the agency.
“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 spokesperson, lawyer Marissa Medrano, said in a statement sent 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,” Medrano added.
She said the PCSO Governing Board has already warned that it will not condone anyone, whether management or rank and file employees found to be involved in graft and corrupt practices, especially if it involves public funds.
“PCSO is optimistic that the investigation is also a means to cleanse the agency if there really are corrupt officials and employees among its ranks,” she said.
Amid controversies, Medrano assured the public that the agency’s operations and the provision of health and medical-related services to Filipinos nationwide will continue.
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte an independent probe by the Office of the Ombudsman regarding allegations of corruption against resigned PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan.
Panelo said Balutan decided to resign “out of delicadeza” amid “serious” allegations hurled against him.
“He (Balutan) said he really wants an investigation and I told him, ‘I will write a memo to the President and request the President to grant your request for an investigation,’” he said.
Panelo said the allegations against Balutan include the Commission on Audit (COA) findings on certain Small-Town Lottery areas failing to meet their quotas but whose licenses were renewed, and cash allegedly brought to the PCSO office.
He said Balutan denied these allegations, noting that the renewal of license to operate is a board decision and that the alleged cash was not brought to his office.
Panelo maintained the President’s stance that he will not tolerate even “a whiff of corruption” in his administration.
Panelo on Monday clarified that Balutan has resigned, apparently retracting his statement last week that the former PCSO chief was fired over corruption allegations.
He explained that the Office of the President received Balutan’s resignation letter only after the sacking was announced. (PNA)
Photo from ABS-CBN News