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Morato: Stop ‘trial by publicity’

/ 02:31 AM June 28, 2011

Manoling Morato, former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chair and director, on Monday accused current PCSO Chair Margarita Juico of “lying through her teeth” just to convince President Aquino to keep her in her post.

Morato said that instead of making baseless accusations against him and other members of the previous PCSO board, Juico should just file a case in court and end the “trial by publicity.”

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Morato said Juico was “desperate” because she was in danger of losing her post because under the recently signed GOCC Governance Act, all heads of state agencies have only a one-year term and their extension would be subject to the approval of the President.

“She knows the President will kick her out of her post come July 1 because of how she mismanaged PCSO. She has been in the PCSO for 25 years and it has been her lifelong dream to be its chair. Even (President Cory) Aquino did not want her to be chair,” Morato said in a phone interview.

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Morato said that since the PCSO was under the Office of the President, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had control over the agency, including the conversion of at least P150 million of the PCSO public relations fund into intelligence funds that were not subject to state audit. Then PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte had requested the conversion.

Juico had noted Arroyo’s marginal notes on the letter request of Uriarte.

Blood money

Morato said the increase in intelligence funds was necessary because these were used as “blood money” to save Filipinos who were facing execution abroad.

Morato said the money was also used to gather intelligence reports on “jueteng” operations as part of the PCSO’s move to strengthen its small town lottery unit.

Morato said that when the old board left, the PCSO had P3.3 billion in two banks, $6 million in foreign currency deposits and prime property worth P1 billion.

He said that this was much more than the P4 billion in debts that the PCSO had allegedly accumulated during the Arroyo administration.

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Morato, however, could not say for certain whether these were strictly for charity, operating or prize funds but he said that all these were compiled in separate books as mandated by the PCSO charter.

Juico said a Commission on Audit report showed that the old board comingled the charity and operating funds—a no-no in the PCSO charter.

“I don’t know where she got her figures. She is really good at inventing them. These are all lies. She is hiding the truth,” said Morato who was assigned as the old PCSO board’s spokesperson.

The old PCSO board was willing to face Juico not only in court, but also in the congressional investigation set after the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 25 where Morato said his group would come out with Juico’s anomalous deals such as the purchase of baby incubators for P1.8 million.

Morato claimed the incubators were worth only P200,000.

Morato also said Juico bought portable X-rays for P4.9 million, although the actual price was only P1.25 million.

Morato said it was Juico (she served on the PCSO board until 2005) who had asked Arroyo to revise the PCSO rules to allow the board to approve projects worth P5 million and below.

“This is why all the projects she was endorsing to the board were below P5 million. When I was PCSO chair, all projects worth more than P100,000 had to be approved by the President,” he said.

Morato claimed that Juico’s decision to “tighten” PCSO doles was misplaced since the agency was seen as a last resort by the poor and the sick.

Morato claimed that 31 people had died after the PCSO rejected their medical claims.

Juico disputed Morato’s claims, noting that he had not revealed the identities of the spurned applicants.

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TAGS: accusations, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Graft and Corruption, Manuel "Manoling" Morato, media kickbacks, PCSO Chair Margarita Juico, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), trial by publicity
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