Ex-PCSO chief sets record straight on agency exit

MANILA – Insisting that he resigned from his post and was not sacked, former general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Alexander Balutan yesterday took to social media to explain his leaving the agency.

“Career for me is just temporary but character is (for a) lifetime, even beyond grave,” he posted on Facebok.

When he assumed office in 2016, according to Balutan, he right away told PCSO employees he would resign from office if somebody from Congress asks him to do something he could not stomach.

On Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed the President fired Balutan for corruption.

“The Palace confirms that President Duterte terminated the services of PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan due to serious allegations of corruption,” Panelo said in a statement.

However, he did not give details of the alleged corruption.

“I did not ask for this position, PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) retired me early from (the) Marines to help him run his administration,” stressed Balutan on Facebook.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, Balutan drew controversy over PCSO’s Christmas party in 2017 costing P6 million.

He insisted that he did his job well.

“In silence, I did and I excelled. I did not ask anything from the President in return,” stressed Balutan.

But in a statement, Panelo said the firing of Balutan should serve as a “stern warning” to all government officials and employees that there are no sacred cows in the current administration.

“Good governance and public accountability are the twin hallmarks of the administration,” said Panelo.

A former Marine officer, Balutan came to prominence after he testified in a Senate hearing in 2005 on how allies of then president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allegedly rigged the election results in Lanao del Sur to her favor in connection with the 2004 presidential election.

Balutan and retired Marine Brigadier General Francisco Gudani appeared before the legislative inquiry despite an order from Arroyo for government officials and personnel not to attend congressional inquiries without her permission./PN


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