Panelo: Ombudsman must investigate Balutan
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said it is the Office of the Ombudsman that should investigate the corruption allegations against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Alexander Balutan.
“On his side, he wants to have an investigation on that and he would not want to be viewed as clinging to a position when there are serious allegations of corruption to him,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo on Friday said Balutan was fired “due to serious corruption allegations” but later backtracked and said the former PCSO official resigned.
He said he sees no need to apologize to Balutan for his initial statement.
“Hindi nga, kasi in fact, parang he was partly to blame eh. Kasi supposed to be nag-resign siya on Friday. Pero nag-resign siya the following day eh, na late. Kaya naiintindihan niya rin,” he said.
(He was supposed to resign on Friday. He did the following day, it was late. That is why he understands.)
Pressed if he will apologize, he said, “No, kasi iyong akin good faith din eh, hindi ko rin alam na nag-resign siya. Pero para sa kanya, okay eh—basta nag-usap kami, okay na okay sa kanya.”
(No need to apologize, I acted in good faith. I did not know that he resigned. To him, everything is settled. We already talked. All is fine with us.)
Panelo said he would recommend that the Ombudsman conduct an investigation on Balutan.
“Ako baka ang rekomendasyon ko ay ibigay na lang sa Ombudsman kasi OP sila lahat eh, para wala ng… para independent,” he said.
I wil recommend that the Ombudsman handle the investigation, an independent one.)
Panelo, who met with Balutan on Monday, said he would relay to President Rodrigo Duterte his request for an impartial investigation.
“He 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. Okay naman sa kanya iyon,” he said. /gsg
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