Senate sets probe into alleged ‘PCSO bribes’
MANILA, Philippines – A number of former and incumbent congressmen, bishops, and other big personalities, who allegedly received bribes from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during the past administration, will be unmasked when the Senate blue ribbon committee holds an investigation on the issue next week.
The Senate investigation next Wednesday was prompted by a joint resolution filed by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Teofisto Guingona III.
Lacson revealed that he and Guingona were in possession of documents showing several “anomalous transactions” between the PCSO and some personalities, who have allegedly received “gifts” or “bribes” from the agency.
“May mga government officials, mayroong hindi government officials. May mga personalities na nabanggit na rin [There are government officials and there are those who are not. There were personalities that were already mentioned] but then we can’t reveal the names as of now kasi kaiklangan i-certify pa [because we have yet to certify it] because these are just documents that need further validation by the PCSO and the COA [Commission on Audit],” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“Halimbawa, may mga 3 o 4 na bishops na tama nakatangap ng pajero or whatever na hindi naman pwedeng sabihin ang pangalan unless yung COA o PCSO na mismo ang nagsabi na authentic yung mga documents, yung mga board resolutions na nagbibigay ng ganung biyaya o ganung mga regalo o sabhin nating suhol sa mga taong hindi dapat tumatanggap ng biyaya from PCSO [For instance, there are 3 or 4 bishops who received a pajero or whatever but we can’t reveal their names unless the COA or the PCSO itself would say that the documents, the board resolutions that allowed them to give those gifts or shall we say bribes to the people who were not supposed to receive money from the PCSO],” he pointed out.
In one district also, Lacson said, a congressman allied with former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, supposedly got P55 million from the PCSO.
“The date of the board resolution [allowing the release of the P55 million] was still covered by the election period. I think it was on June 21 of 2010 so katatapos lang ng election [just right after the elections], he said.
Lacson said those incumbent congressmen, who would be dragged into the controversy, may always invoke inter-parliamentary courtesy should they decide not to attend the hearings in the Senate.
“But it’s up to them kung ayaw nilang tumayo para i-defend yung sarili nila [if they don’t want to defend themselves]. Call nila yun [It’s their call],” the senator added.
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