President Rodrigo Duterte, shifting to high gear in his administration’s drive against corruption, has fired Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager Alexander Balutan “due to serious allegations of corruption.
READ: PCSO hits CV police for ‘jueteng’ inaction
Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo’s statement Friday chased the pronouncement of Florante Solmerin, deputy spokesperson at the Office of PCSO General Manager, that Balutan “opted to resign” due to “personal reasons.”
“We hope that this will serve as a stern warning to all government officials and employees that there are no sacred cows in the current administration, especially when it comes to serving the Filipino people with integrity and loyalty,” Panelo said in a statement.
In a related development:
Police Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino, Cagayan Valley Regional Director denied allegation from PCSO that he was protecting illegal gambling operations in Nueva Vizcaya province.
The PCSO tagged Espino as protector over the jueteng activities of Globaltech’s Peryahan ng Bayan because of the laters refusal to conduct raids on Peryahan ng Bayan operations.
Espino in a text message to the Manila Standard, said, “PNP PRO 2 is not protecting Globaltech. We are just following legal procedures and legal mandate.” With Brenda Jocson
Espino was referring to the status quo ante order by Court of Appeals which validity stated that “The SQAO was issued in support of the court’s (Pasig RTC Branch 161) directive to refer the case to arbitration .”
The SQAO directed PCSO “to continue sending a PCSO rep daily to the draw centers of Globaltech for the conduct of the Peryahan Game. This was issued to preserve the threatened or continues irremediable injury to Globaltech before its claims can be addressed in the arbitration proceedings.”
Panelo said said good governance and public accountability were the “twin hallmarks” of the Duterte administration.
Observers noted the firing of Balutan came a day after he said the PCSO saw a drop in lottery sales due to smaller jackpot amounts and higher ticket prices.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1983, Balutan drew controversy last year over PVSO’s lavish P6-million Christmas Party.
In 2005, Balutan also made headlines for defying then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Executive Order 464 barring government officials and personnel from testifying in congressional inquiries without her clearance and permission. With Brenda JocsonREAD: Lawmakers seek revamp of PCSO
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