House probe on PCSO adjourns without corruption bombshell

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2019 04:12 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2019 06:30 AM

MANILA — A congressional hearing on the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office was cut short on Tuesday, preventing its board member Sandra Cam from releasing her promised bombshell on alleged corruption concerning a numbers game. 

Cam on Monday said she will bare "shocking" documents on small-town lottery (STL) operations, which President Rodrigo Duterte suspended from July 26 to August 26 due to "massive corruption" in the PCSO. 

The House games and amusement committee adjourned its "organizational meeting" about PCSO after its general manager Royin Garma presented the agency's mandate, funding scheme, and policies to assist the state and non-government organizations. 

The committee chaired by ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Yap did not question any PCSO official about the agency's alleged corruption and revenue-generating programs.

"I'm not happy, dahil wala pa kami 20 minutes, presentation pa lang ng General Manager na-adjourn kaagad," said Cam. 

"Bakit ganito nangyari? 'Di nyo na sana kami pinapunta dito” she exclaimed.

(I'm not happy, because it had been less than 20 minutes and the General Manager had just finished her presentation when we immediately adjourned. What did this happen? You should not have summoned us here.) 

Cam insisted that she has documents proving that "massive corruption in PCSO has been lingering." 

"Ayaw nila ako pasalitain. Wala ako pakialam kung sino may ayaw d'yan (They don't want me to speak, but I don't care who they are), I am ready to speak and I will tell the truth. Nobody can silence me," she said. 

She declined to name officials and give details about the supposed corruption, but she said she will reveal everything at the proper time and forum. 

Yap, meanwhile, said alleged anomalies at the agency were not among the agenda of the organizational meeting, which was supposed to brief the congressional committee on PCSO's finances and contributions to the country. 

The corruption issue is still with the House Committee on Rules and has yet to be referred to the games and amusement panel, he said. 

“Definitely meron kaming inquiry. Inaantay lang namin ang Committee on Rules kung kailan nila mairerefer sa 'min. Lahat kasi ngayon busy sa budget hearing,” Yap said. 

(We have an inquiry, we are just waiting for the Committee on Rules to refer the issue to us. It's just that everyone is busy with the budget hearing.) 

Garma said Cam’s supposed revelations on the corruption in PCSO may be demoralizing to the leadership and employees of the agency, but they are now more focused on the assistance they have to give to the needy, as well as solving the problems of the agency including the Peryahan ng Bayan and STL operations.

“Marami akong challenges na hinaharap. I'm focused on operations, I'm working with AGM’s (assistant general managers) for changes, to be more transparent and maparami ang funds for charities.” she said. 

(I am facing many challenges. I'm focused on operations, I'm working with AGM’s for changes, to be more transparent and increase funds for charities.)

Garma also noted that while Duterte has lifted the ban on STL, her agency has yet to give any clearance for its operations to resume. 

Duterte's anti-corruption body is set to wrap a "lifestyle check" on some 15 PCSO officials by November. 

- Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News