PCSO officials not next on chopping block – Malacañang

Pia Ranada
PCSO officials not next on chopping block – Malacañang
Malacañang defers naming the 'high-ranking official' President Rodrigo Duterte wants to fire, as the Chief Executive is still reviewing the legislative charter of the appointee's office

MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) can heave a sigh of relief as Malacañang has assured them that President Rodrigo Duterte will not fire anyone from the agency this week.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement on Wednesday, January 3, when asked whether the “high-ranking official” set to be sacked by the President was from the PCSO. (READ: Duterte set to sack high-ranking official, police officers in 1st week of 2018)

“I can make the confirmation that the official who I was tasked to announce and  belatedly told to hold in abeyance is not from the PCSO,” said Roque.

PCSO executives recently had to deflect criticisms over its P6-million office Christmas party held at the high-end EDSA Shangri-La Hotel.

One of its own officials, newly-appointed board member Sandra Cam, had gone public with the cost of the party, revealing a rift between her and PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan, also a Duterte appointee.

Roque had earlier confirmed that Duterte was aware of the controversy. He said on Wednesday, however, that the President continues to hold Balutan and Cam in “high esteem.”

The presidential spokesman remained mum on the identity of the appointee that was supposed to be fired, but let slip that the official was a “he.”

Roque also said the appointee headed an office. He was supposed to announce Duterte’s decision to axe the official on Tuesday, January 2, but received a text message and call early Wednesday for him to defer the announcement.

Duterte, said Roque, was still reviewing the legislative charter of the appointee’s office, as provided to him by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Another complaint about a Duterte appointee that has reached Malacañang is against Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III for being an “absentee administrator” due to his frequent travels abroad.

The Alliance of Marina Employees, which made the complaint, accused Amaro of going on 11 foreign junkets in 2017.

Duterte has fired other officials for supposed unnecessary foreign travels, including Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chairman Terry Ridon  and Development Academy of the Philippines President Elba Cruz.

He has ordered officials of the executive branch not to go on official foreign trips starting January 1. – Rappler.com 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.