By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang is letting the Office of the Ombudsman do its job following allegations that Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam has amassed more than P500 million after her appointment to the agency.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after detained Senator Leila de Lima dared President Duterte to fire Cam following the allegations.
In his press briefing, Panelo said the Palace does not need to launch its own investigation on the matter since a private citizen has already filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Since it’s already with the Ombudsman, and the Ombudsman has the power to suspend, I think we’ll let it do the process,” he said Monday.
“We will not be duplicating any investigation considering the fact that there is now a pending case with the Ombudsman,” he added.
According to the detained senator, not lifting a finger on Cam’s “well-known shenanigans” will shatter President Duterte’s corruption-loathing image.
“I dare you, Mr. President, to fire Sandra Cam or at least order a bona fide investigation into her alleged amassing of properties worth hundreds of millions of pesos, including an island,” De Lima said in a handwritten statement.
“That’s a whiff or more than ‘whiff of corruption,’ isn’t it?” she added.
President Duterte has repeatedly warned government officials that he would fire them even with just a “whiff” of corruption.
In a complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman by a certain Lino Espinosa Lim Jr., Cam is supposedly the owner of several properties in Masbate province. He said Cam failed to properly declare these in her 2017 and 2018 Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).
Cam also allegedly failed to declare in her SALNs other properties including Zandra’s Beach Resort and Convention Center, and two parcels of land at Barangay Pinamoghaan, Ticao Island in San Fernando, Masbate.
She also supposedly did not declare five parcels of land in Matabao Island in Batuan town.
The former whistle blower also allegedly concealed her ownership of the properties, including a lavish resort, by registering them under the names of family members.