Sacked PCSO chief Balutan says 'powerful people' behind ouster

Henry Omaga-Diaz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2019 01:19 PM

Sacked PCSO chief Balutan says 'powerful people' behind ouster 1
Sacked PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Sacked Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan on Saturday said “some powerful people” were behind Malacañang's decision to remove him from the agency. 

In a telephone interview with ABS-CBN News, Balutan said he received a call from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea who told him that “some people” wanted him out.

Malacañang announced Balutan's sacking Friday, saying he faced "serious allegations of corruption." 

Balutan, a former Marine General, declined to give details but indicated that it had something to do with small town lottery (STL). The Senate conducted an inquiry on alleged corruption relating to PCSO's STL operations in January 2018 after an interal squabble in the agency. 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson called on Malacañang to file charges against him. 

In the interview, Balutan said he was “begging” for an investigation of corruption allegations against him as he sought to clear his name.

He added that he was willing to face any investigating agency, including Congress, so he could air his side on the events that he said led to his firing. 

"I told all PCSO employees when I assumed as GM in 2016 that if somebody from the OP (Office of the President)/Congress ask/order me to do something which I cannot stomach... I will resign," he said.

He recalled that it was President Rodrigo Duterte who had asked him to retire early from the Philippine Marines to join government. 

"In silence.. I did and I excel. I did not ask anything from the President in return. The rest was history," he said. 

"Career for me is just temporary but character is [for a] lifetime... even beyond my grave," he said. 

Balutan, a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1983, also drew controversy over a supposedly lavish PCSO Christmas party in 2017, where the agency spent about P6 million.