By Floro L. Mercene
If President Rodrigo Duterte is to take his anti-illegal gambling campaign to the next level, he should be wary choosing his appointees to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Before the year ended, Sandra Cam, newly appointed board member of the PCSO, exposed an alleged “extravagant” Christmas party of the agency for its employees, costing P6 million which, she said, could have been used for other charitable purposes.
With more than 1,580 employees, the cost per PCSO head would be a little less than P4,000, below the cost per head of the parties of the lawmakers who are aching to probe the issue.
So, what would have driven Cam to make a mountain out of a molehill? What is her agenda?
Cam paid Alexander Balutan a visit when he assumed the PCSO managership, and brought with her suspected illegal gambling lord, Charlie “Atong” Ang.
Previously, Ang had been allegedly collaborating with then PCSO chair Ireneo “Ayong” Maliksi, to block the expansion of the Small Town Lottery (STL) to other provinces, particularly in areas where Ang allegedly operates jueteng.
Gaming industry players alleged Ang operated jueteng in at least 11 provinces in Luzon during the past administration, with the knowledge of the local government units and the Philippine National Police provincial offices.
Why did Cam bring Ang with her during courtesy call on Balutan?
“Her (Cam’s) ultimate goal is to replace me or the chairman and usher her longtime friend Atong Ang into the PCSO systems to control STL nationwide,” Balutan was quoted in newspaper reports.
“Cam and Ang even dropped the names of the President and his special assistant, Bong Go, who supposedly sent them to Balutan and Corpuz to discuss how the STL should be operated,” Balutan said.
The President needs to look deeper in Cam’s agenda. What is she and Ang up to and why the itch to take over the helms of the PCSO?