Duterte was 'joking': Sandra Cam says won't mend ties with Balutan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2018 04:51 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2019 02:13 PM

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(UPDATED) Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam on Tuesday said she will not mend ties with the charity agency's general manager despite the urging of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte on Monday teased Cam about ending her feud with PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan. 

Cam and Balutan started trading barbs in December after Cam accused the general manager of spending at least P6 million for the agency's Christmas party.

"You know the President cracks jokes a lot of times. Nagbiro siya na: 'Sandra hinahanap ka ni Balutan. Inaaway mo kasi,'" Cam told members of the House Committee on Good Government during a congressional probe.

"Sabi ko, 'Sir, 'yung biro mo ba kanina?' He said, 'Just do your job,'" Cam said without giving details about Duterte's supposed "marching orders." 

'Mend ties or step down'

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez told PCSO officials to mend their ties and improve their working relationship, or step down from their posts.

"Mend, as what the president said. Mag-ayos kayo ng problema and work together because there is no room for disagreement in an office in charge of charity," Suarez said.

"When you are working under a government office that is in charge of charity, it's a collegial body and you should work accordingly and coordinate with each other. If you cannot work together, then one has to go," he added.

'Bullied from the start'

Cam said she does not intent to make peace with Balutan. She alleged that the former military official has been bullying her since her appointment as board member.

"Ginawa niya sa akin lahat po ng pambu-bully to the extent sinabihan niya ako last week during our board meeting he has 10,000 Marines watching over me."

Cam said Balutan also disarmed some of the police security detail given to her. 

Cam said she "respects the statement of the President" asking her in jest to mend ties with Balutan, but will continue to be a "fiscalizer" in the charity agency.

Last month, Cam accused Balutan and PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz of receiving kickbacks from businessman and alleged "jueteng" lord Bong Pineda.

Cam also filed criminal charges for grave threats against Balutan.

Duterte on Monday cleared Balutan from corruption allegations stemming from a "lavish" PCSO Christmas party.

“Iyung reklamo kay Balutan na gumastos ng milyon? Wala iyun, ang mahalaga naibibigay ang serbisyo sa nangangailangan,” Duterte said in a speech in Cebu City.

He made no mention of Balutan's supposed links to jueteng and his alleged threats against Cam.

Duterte appointed Balutan as PCSO general manager in 2016, while Cam was appointed to the charity agency in December 2017.

- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News