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Palace heeds Balutan plea for fair probe

/ 05:38 AM March 13, 2019

Malacañang on Tuesday said it might be better to let the Office of the Ombudsman investigate the “serious allegations of corruption” against resigned Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he would relay to President Rodrigo Duterte the former PCSO chief’s request for a fair investigation on the allegations, which Balutan had denied.

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“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 against him,” Panelo said.

Ombudsman’s role

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At the press briefing, Panelo said he might recommend that the Ombudsman take over the investigation.

“My recommendation might be to refer it to the Ombudsman, because the others are under the Office of the President. So that there’s no issue, for the probe to be independent,” he said.

Panelo made the remarks after talking to Balutan, who told him that he chose to resign out of “delicadeza” due to the allegations of corruption against him.

The Palace on Monday issued a clarification that Balutan resigned from his position, a day after Malacañang announced that the President was terminating his services.

Panelo said Balutan asked for a full and impartial probe into the accusations against him, after denying the allegations thrown at him.

COA report

The presidential spokesperson cited a Commission on Audit (COA) report that some Small Town Lottery operators, which failed to fully remit their earnings, were still being allowed to operate.

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“Then there was an incident that someone brought money to a certain floor of the PCSO, but he said it’s not his room but the room of the other board of directors,” Panelo said.

Quoting Balutan, Panelo said: “He’s saying that they are pointing to him that he’s the one who renewed it, but it’s not true, because it’s the board decision and not his, and that it was removed from him.”

He said he issued the clarification on Balutan’s resignation, which the President and Balutan both approved of.

“He (Balutan) was partly to blame. He was supposed to resign on Friday, but he resigned the following day, it was late. So he understood,” Panelo said, adding that his actions were made in good faith and that there was no need to apologize for the confusion.

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TAGS: Alexander Balutan, corruption, Office of the Ombudsman, PCSO, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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