PCSO officials trade barbs over STL operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 26 2017 03:00 PM | Updated as of Dec 26 2017 05:48 PM


Balutan to Cam: 'Idemanda niya kami'

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MANILA - Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam on Tuesday accused the agency's top officials of benefiting from Small Town Lottery (STL) operations, which she said is being used as a front for the illegal numbers game.

Speaking to DZMM radio Tuesday, Cam, a former jueteng whistle-blower, said STL operators are only declaring 20 percent of profits from STL operations, while 80 percent goes to the pockets of alleged gambling lords. 

Cam's allegations came just days after she bared PCSO's multimillion-peso Christmas party, which Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte would likely have investigated. 

"Ang katotohanan niyan, 15 percent to 20 percent lang ang declaration. Hindi naman dinedeklara ng STL operators ang tunay. So ang 80 percent po ay ninanakaw mismo sa gobyerno. At para makakuha sila ng prangkisa, natural magkakaroon sila ng magandang PR sa nakakataas diyan sa PCSO," she said. 

(The truth is, they declare only 15 to 20 percent (of the profits). STL operators do not declare their actual profits. So the 80 percent is stolen from the government. And for them to get a franchise, of course they have to maintain good relations with top officials at the PCSO.) 

Cam said she wants PCSO General Manager Alex Balutan and Chairman Jose Jorge Corpus to face a congressional inquiry when session resumes after the holidays. She said her team is preparing for the proceedings. 

"Kumikita sila diyan. 'Wag na tayo magbolahan, kumikita sila sa operators na 'yan at nananakawan ang gobyerno ng 80 percent. Gusto ko ma-explain nila sa tao kung paano nangyari ito," said Cam, who said she wants to cleanse PCSO of people involved in illegal gambling.

(They (PCSO officials) are making money from it. Let us not kid ourselves, they are making money from those operators and are stealing 80 percent of the profits from the government. I want them to explain to people how this happened.)

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Balutan, for his part, said he is ready to face any investigation, even challenging Cam to file a case now so he may answer all the allegations in a proper forum and reveal the truth about the intentions of the PCSO board member. 

"'Yang sinasabi ni Sandra na pati kami e pinagbibintangang magnanakaw e idemanda niya kami para magkaalaman. Ni singko wala kaming hinihingi diyan. Never in my life na nanghingi ako sa mga tao na 'yan na sinasabi niya," he told DZMM radio. 

(What Sandra is saying, even accusing us of being thieves, she should just file a case so we'll know the truth. I never asked for a single penny [from gambling lords]... Never in my life did I ask money from those people she mentioned.)

Balutan claimed that gambling tycoon Atong Ang is behind Cam's tirades against PCSO officials. He said Cam just wants to bring her friend Ang into PCSO and have control over STL operations.

"Last year, nagpunta 'yan sa amin. Bago pa siya pumunta sa amin sinasabi niya magche-chairman siya. Ang binibitbit niya si Atong Ang... Dinala niya si Atong Ang doon sa PCSO para siya raw ang hahawak ng STL nationwide at iga-guarantee niya ang PCSO ng P200 million a month," he said.

(Last year, she came to us. Before she was even appointed, she was already saying that she will be chairman. She even brought Atong Ang with her... She brought Atong Ang to the PCSO and said he would be handling STL nationwide and guarantee PCSO earnings of P200 million a month.)

The President appointed Cam to the agency earlier this month. 

Cam earlier slammed PCSO officials for hosting a "lavish" Christmas party for its employees. She said the PCSO spent around P9.88 million for a party at a "five-star" hotel in Mandaluyong.

Balutan, meanwhile, claimed the agency spent only P6 million. He said the board approved about P10 million "for purposes of planning" the party, but spent only about P6.2 million.