By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that retired Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Alexander Balutan was happy with the clarification from the Palace that he stepped down from his position and was not fired like what was originally said.
In his press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that he already referred the case of Balutan to the Ombudsman because the latter requested for an impartial investigation.
“I am referring the case to the Ombudsman upon the request of General Balutan to be investigated,” he said, adding that he sent the letter to the Office of the Ombudsman Wednesday.
According to Panelo, even if it was only Balutan who requested for the investigation, everyone involved will be affected if and when the Ombudsman starts its probe.
“Siya lang naman nag-request eh pero pag nag-imbestiga damay kasama na (He’s the only one who made the request but once the investigation commences, everyone will be affected),” he said.
Last week, Panelo said in a statement that Balutan was fired by President Duterte because of serious allegations of corruption.
However, Panelo on Monday backtracked, saying Balutan decided to resign “out of delicadeza” amid the “serious” allegations against him.
“He (Balutan) said he really wants an investigation and I told him I will write a memo to the President and request the President to grant your request for an investigation,” Panelo said.
Panelo said the allegations against Balutan include the House of Representatives’ investigation, which showed Commission on Audit (COA) findings on certain Small-Town Lottery areas failing to meet their quotas but whose licenses were renewed, and cash allegedly brought to the PCSO office.
The Palace official said Balutan denied the allegations, noting that renewal of license to operate is a board decision and that the alleged cash was not brought to his office.
Earlier, Balutan said that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed him that there are people who want him out in the PCSO.
Read more: Palace backtracks, says Balutan resigned