Duterte admits handpicking Ang to ‘cleanse’ PCSO
President Rodrigo Duterte has sought the help of gaming consultant Charlie “Atong” Ang to clean up the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) of misfits amid the reported corruption activities hounding the state-run agency.
Duterte made the revelation in his departure speech prior to his flight for India at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Wednesday. The President said his sentiments after Ang admitted in a Senate hearing that he met with Duterte in Davao City last year to talk about the issues besetting the PCSO.
“Ito si Atong, I was hearing, tinawag siya, tinawagan ko ‘yan siya. Sinabi ko, “Atong, ikaw ang number one na gambler dito sa Davao. Hawak mo lahat. Huwag tayong magbolahan. Pumunta ka doon sa PCSO, hintuin mo ‘yang lahat ng illegal at tulungan mo ang gobyerno,” he said.
(I called up Atong and told him: “Atong, you are the number one gambler here in Davao. You seems to have a hold on everything. Let’s not fool each other here. Go to PCSO, stop all the illegal activities there and do something to help the government.)
“That was the only reason why I called for Atong Ang. Tell him. Many years ago. I do not want to mention the President. He wanted to set up a Jai Alai in Davao,” he added.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan had earlier claimed that PCSO board member Sandra Cam was lobbying for Ang to allow him to operate Small Town Lottery (STL) nationwide.
Balutan claimed that Cam and Ang visited the PCSO in 2016. Ang confirmed this during the hearing but denied that he had any “interest” in the operations of STL.
Duterte recalled that Ang, whom he called as “friend,” instead to put up a “Jai Alai” in Davao City but the then city mayor refused this.
“Sabi ko sa kanya: “Kaibigan tayo. Huwag mong pilitin ‘yan. Mag-aaway lang tayo. Ayokong makipag-ano sa’yo pero kung pilitin ‘yan na Jai Alai sa Davao talagang magka [away tayo],” he said.
(I told him: We are friends. Don’t force that or we’ll going to have disagreements. I don’t want to discuss this with you but if you force the issue on Jai Alai in Davao, we’ll surely going to have a fight.) /jpv
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