MANILA - A word war has erupted between Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam and Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves after Cam accused the lawmaker of controlling gambling operations in his province.
The former "jueteng" whistleblower first accused Teves of being a gambling lord during a House hearing into the alleged corruption at PCSO, where they engaged in a heated exchange.
Cam also accused Teves of gatecrashing a meeting of PCSO officials and seeking the removal of "no objection" certificates for local governments in small town lottery (STL) operations within their jurisdiction.
On Thursday Cam threatened to lodge an ethics complaint against Teves, saying she has affidavits from Negros officials and policemen to back up the complaint.
"Wala ka sa pangalan sa SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registration, pero ikaw ang nagpapatakbo ng STL (small town lottery) sa Negros Oriental," she accused Teves in a DZMM interview.
(Your name is not on the SEC registration, but you're the one running STL in Negros Oriental.)
Teves, for his part, challenged Cam to resign if she fails to support her allegations with documentary evidence.
"Kung mapatunayan niya ng dokumento iyung mga sinabi niya tungkol sa akin, magre-resign ako. Pero kung wala siyang concrete legal documentary evidence, siya ang magresign," he said in a separate DZMM interview.
(If she proves her claims with documents, I will resign. But if she fails to present concrete legal documentary evidence, she should resign.)
"Mayroong kasabihang talk is cheap. Ang dali magparatang ng kahit ano. Pero kung hindi mo mapatunayan, tsismis iyun, hearsay iyun, malamang sinungaling pa iyun," he added.
(There is a saying, 'Talk is cheap.' It is easy to make accusations. But it you cannot prove these, these are just gossip, hearsay, and perhaps lies.)
Teves said he attended the PCSO meeting Cam mentioned because he is "always trying to help" government agencies combat illegal gambling as part of a technical working group seeking to revise PCSO policies.
Cam is also locked in a feud with PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan, whom she accused of fraternizing with alleged gambling lord Sam Aguilar. Balutan has denied any wrongdoing and said he is ready to face the allegations in court.