PCSO GM won’t gamble ‘impeccable’ military records on ‘flimsy’ STL issue » Manila Bulletin News

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PCSO GM won’t gamble ‘impeccable’ military records on ‘flimsy’ STL issue

By Carizza Ibañez
Prove the allegations first.

That is what embattled Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Alexander Balutan said as he expressed his willingness to step down from his post if his accusers can substantiate their claims that he is indeed involved in corrupt activities within the agency.

In a strongly-worded statement, Balutan dared his detractors to produce documentary evidence that he allegedly benefited from the P6.5 billion worth of Small Town Lottery (STL) revenues.

(Photo by Joseph Vidal)

PCSO chairman Alexander Balutan (Photo by Joseph Vidal)

“Now, I pose this challenge to everyone. If anybody can produce the STL P6.5 billion monthly gross revenue as being taunted by the genius of the Senate and Atong Ang, I will resign as general manager,” Balutan said.

Balutan reiterated that he does not engage in any illegal activities, nor is he pocketing any PCSO money.

He even pointed out that within the one year that he has been PCSO general manager, the PCSO-STL made history by generating P15.7 billion in revenues, compared with the previous P4.7-billion revenue being generated before he took the reins.

“I was accused of short changing the government of the revenues supposedly earned from STL with the insinuations that I benefit from it,” he said.

The general manager continues to vehemently deny all allegations, saying that he is a “full-blooded Marine” who is not accustomed to doing “sinister things.”

As a former Marine colonel, Balutan said that he has been in the frontlines for too many times that he knows a real battle is one fought with blood, not the “acoustic war” that the lawmakers he calls “professional legal warriors” are waging in the Senate.

“I will never gamble my impeccable military records for these flimsy STL issues,” said Balutan.

But this is not the first time Balutan threatened resignation.

Days after PCSO board member Sandra Cam blew the whistle on the “grandiose party,” Balutan said that he would resign if Cam becomes PCSO chairman.

During Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate committee on games and amusement, Balutan was grilled for his implication in the alleged lavish PCSO Christmas party held at a five-star hotel in Mandaluyong City on December 19 that Cam exposed late last year. Cam said the party cost P10 million worth of taxpayers’ money.

But Balutan insisted that the party was not extravagant. He even urged the senators to look into the bright side because, of the P11 million budget allocated for the occasion, only P6 million was used. The government was actually able to save, he said matter-of-factly.

“Palagay ko, mas magandang tingnan na na-cut namin itong budget na ito sa P6.3 million. So malaking bagay na po ‘yon, hindi namin ginastos sa iba,” Balutan said.

Balutan also emphasized that the funds did not come from people’s taxes, but from the gaming public. “We still exercise prudence do’n sa expense,” he added.

Aside from the alleged lavish Christmas party, Balutan also faces claims for allegedly benefitting from STL operations used as fronts for jueteng.

According to Cam, of the 84 STL outlets in the country, 70 are operated by gambling lords.

She said Balutan turns a blind eye on this issue because he himself is profiting from it.

Balutan has since denied Cam’s assertions, dismissing them as baseless and unfounded. He said that Cam resorted to attacking him and other PCSO officials because she wants the general manager position for herself.

Cam and Balutan have been trading barbs ever since the former’s exposés of alleged irregularities within the PCSO broke out.

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