Palace: Duterte won’t fire Sandra Cam; fate up to Ombudsman
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would not fire Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam, Malacañang said Tuesday, saying it was now up to the Ombudsman to investigate her alleged unexplained wealth.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima dared Duterte to fire Cam, who allegedly amassed more than P500 million in unexplained wealth since the President appointed her as PCSO official.
“From what I understand, somebody has already filed a case in the Ombudsman. So that’s the Ombudsman’s call now,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He said Duterte, who had repeatedly said he would fire officials tainted with just a “whiff of corruption,” would no longer interfere on the allegations against Cam.
“Since it’s already with the Ombudsman, and the Ombudsman has the power to suspend, I think we’ll let it do the process,” he said.
Panelo said Malacañang would no longer conduct an independent investigation against Cam.
“We will not be duplicating any investigation considering the fact that there is now a pending case with the Ombudsman,” he said.
In a complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman, a certain Lino Espinosa Lim Jr. alleged that Cam owned several properties in Masbate province, which he failed to declare in her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) for 2017 and 2018.
“I will never steal even a single penny from the government because my advocacy is good governance,” Cam told the Inquirer in a phone interview on Sunday night. /kga/ac
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