By Ben Rosario
Congressmen are crossing party lines to demand the immediate resignation of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) director Sandra Cam for allegedly falsely accusing a sitting member of the House of Representatives of operating small town lottery in Negros Oriental.
In House Resolution 1777 authored by Minority Leader and Quezon Rep.. Danilo Suarez and administration Represetatives. Arnolfo A. Teves Jr. (PDP-Laban, Negros Oriental) and Robert S. Barbers (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Norte), at least 50 House members also called on the House leadership to start contempt proceedings against Cam.
Cam allegedly threw unfounded accusations against Teves during a recent hearing of the House committee on games and amusement where she publicly assailed the PCSO management of the small town lottery.
“Aside from accusing a member of the House of alleged wrongdoing, Ms. Sandra Cam called Hon. Teves names, and was yelling and shouting at the latter,” HR 1777 said.
Cam came to the hearing on February 28, 2018 as invited guest of the House panel chaired by Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting.
“Whereas, in another committee hearing, Ms. Sandra Cam likewise verbally abused the distinguished Minority Leader Danilo Suarez,” lawmakers said.
According to lawmakers Cam’s “unruly behavior” is a direct affront to the Lower House.
During the Feb. 28 hearing, Tambunting cited Cam for being “unusually quiet” but this was before she engaged Teves in a verbal tiff.
At the hearing, Cam was ordered to produce documentary evidence to support her claim that far from the average P200-million revenues for legal STL operations in Pangasinan, operators of illegal numbers games could easily raise P500 million in annual sales in the province in 2005.
Apparently stung by Tambunting’s order, Cam vented her ire at Teves who proposed that she be cited for contempt for unruly behavior.
“But he himself is an operator of STL. Isn’t it you are an STL operator also in your province?” Cam angrily declared as she faced Teves.
Reacting to Cam’s accusation, Teves asked Tambunting that Cam be ordered to further submit evidence to support her allegations that he has business interest in STL in his province, saying that he would resign his post if the PCSO official can prove it in the next hearing.
“Kung wala siyang ma-submit na ebidensya , siya dapat ang magresign as director of PCSO,” said Teves.
Cam responded: “No problem I will call that.“
Cam later told reporters that Teves has been openly criticizing every time she appears in congressional hearings, apparently as a result of her exposes of wrongdoings in PCSO.
She claimed Teves tried to throw his weight around during a PCSO board meeting, asking them not to include a “certification of no objection” from local government units as a requisite in the operation of STL within their jurisdiction.
Reacting to Cam’s media interview, Teves said there should be somebody who must stop her from airing accusations that are uncorroborated by acceptable witnesses or evidence.
The administration lawmaker said a certification of no objection might place in jeopardy the PCSO’s objective in battling illegal numbers games through the STL.
Asked to comment on the ongoing controversy that pitted Cam against Balutan, Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said this might be a proxy war between jueteng” lord Bong Pineda and Charlie “Atong” Ang, whose jai-alai front operations was adversely affected by STL.
Accused of being behind the operation of majority of STL operations in the country, Pineda was invited to the hearing but failed to show up, Tambunting disclosed.