MANILA — Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Alexander Balutan said he is open to an investigation on the millions of pesos allegedly spent by the agency for its Christmas party.
“I will volunteer to be investigated and open to any investigation by Congress,” Balutan said in a phone interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday.
Replying to the accusation of whistleblower Sandra Cam on the alleged “grandiose” PCSO Christmas party celebration, Balutan said “the PCSO has nothing to hide and is ready to account for it to the last centavo supported by corresponding official receipts of our expenditures during our Christmas party.”
“The PCSO spent PHP3 million for the hotel, food and give away prizes for the Christmas party and not PHP10 million,” Balutan added.
Cam, a newly appointed PCSO director, has exposed the alleged overspending of the PCSO for its Christmas party.
Balutan said he is open to any investigation to show that there was no overspending or irregularity in the PCSO Christmas party.
“In fact, I will volunteer to be investigated to prove that we are not hiding anything,” said Balutan, a decorated military officer of the Philippine Marines with the rank of major general, who saw combat in southern Philippines, particularly the Mindanao all-out war in 2000.
At the same time, Balutan turned the table against Cam whom he accused of lobbying out for her friend, Atong Ang, as in charge of managing the “lucrative” Small Town Lottery draw nationwide of PCSO.
According to Balutan, the STL, which is the latest PCSO lottery game that started fourth quarter of this year, generated an income of PHP1.7 billion for the government’s coffers.
For the regular lotto games, PCSCO earned PHP51 billion as of last week and is expected to earn more, as there are still a few days of draw before the month of December ends, said Balutan.
Meanwhile, retired Marine Maj. Manuel Fraginal, PCSO executive assistant, blasted Cam for making “damaging irresponsible accusation” that has demoralized the rank-and-file of the PCSO.
“The PCSO did not spend PHP10 million for our Christmas party as alleged by Sandra Cam,” Fraginal said in a separate phone interview.
“In fact, PCSO employees of over 1,100 donated PHP2,000 each from their bonus to the victims of the Marawi siege,” said Fraginal, who is also a bemedalled Marine officer having fought in numerous combat operations during long years of military service.
He said all expenses of the PCSO are properly recorded and all projects are approved through board resolutions.
Fraginal also denied the accusations of Cam.