Panelo flip-flops on Balutan case

Alexander Balutan, the former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager, resigned and was not fired by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Palace spokesman said Monday—taking back his previous statement for the second time in less than a week.

READ: ‘Whiff of corruption’ gets Duterte’s goat

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Balutan filed his resignation letter with the Office of the President, which received it after Malacañang had already announced: “his cessation from office.”

“Mr. Balutan resigned out of delicadeza because of, as we have said, serious allegations of corruption in the PCSO,” Panelo said.

A former Marine general, Balutan has requested the President “for a fair and impartial investigation to ferret out the truth on the matter,” the Palace spokesman added.

“We hope this sets the record straight on the timeline of what transpired,” Panelo said.

Balutan’s camp had said he opted to resign, citing “personal reasons.”

Panelo had previously stirred controversy when, on March 7, he said that he made “educated guess” on foreign governments providing the Duterte administration with “wiretapped information” on politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Also the presidential legal counsel, Panelo then told reporters that he did not have any information on wiretapping activities by foreign governments on Filipinos, whether suspected of criminal activities or not. Vito Barcelo

Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law prohibits wiretapping unless authorized by the court. 

Panelo’s previous clarification came after critics blasted the government for the supposed wiretapping, and after Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino said that information on those included in the so-called “narco-list” came from local authorities, not from foreign governments. 

READ: PACC taps DAR execs to probe own people

READ: ‘Anti-corruption campaign should be in curriculum

READ: Malacañang fires Balutan of PCSO for ‘corruption’

Topics: Alexander Balutan , Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office , Rodrigo Duterte , Office of the President
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