Ex-PCSO general manager Balutan denies corruption allegations

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan on Saturday, March 9, denied any involvement in corruption, contrary to Malacañang's official reason for sacking him.

PCSO deputy spokesperson Florante Solmerin shared Balutan's statement in a Facebook post on Saturday. 

"I told all PCSO employees when I assumed as GM in 2016 that if somebody from OP/Congress ask/order me to do something which I cannot stomach...I WILL RESIGN," Balutan said in his post.

"Career for me is just temporary but character is lifetime... even beyond my grave," he added.

He noted that he did not ask to be appointed as PCSO general manager, and that President Rodrigo Duterte had even asked him to retire from the military service ahead of his mandatory age of retirement so he could serve his administration.

"I did not ask for this position. PRRD retired me early from the Marines to help him run his administration. In silence I did and I excel. I did not ask anything from the President in return. The rest was history," Balutan said.

Balutan apparently shared the statement with his fellow retired military officers as well. In a public Facebook post on Saturday, retired general Jovenal "Jovie" Narcise shared a text message he received from  Balutan, containing the same statement.

On Friday, March 8, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte sacked Balutan because of “serious allegations of corruption” but the PCSO deputy spokesman said he had resigned due to personal reasons.

In his post on Saturday, Solmerin defended Balutan from corruption allegations which, he claimed, were fueled by "vested-interest individuals/groups" who have an ax to grind against Balutan.

"Lalabas at lalabas ang katotohanan kung ano ang dahilan ng kanyang desisyon na magbitiw na lamang sa puwesto, kabaligtaran ng 'PR works' sa media ng mga vested-interest individuals/groups na matagal nang gumigiba sa kanya. Maghintay lamang tayo. Merong mga babagsak dito," he said.

(The truth will come out on the reason for his decision to resign from his post, the opposite of the 'PR works' in the media of vested-interest individuals/groups that have long been trying to destroy him. Let's just wait. Some would fall.)

"Ngayon pa lang, hindi siya 'yung taong aatras sa laban lalo na kung ang kanyang ipinaglalaban ay (He's the kind of person who would retreat from a fight especially if what he's fighting for is) 'right and just,'" added Solmerin who also said he was expressing his personal opinion. 

 

Balutan, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy "Matikas" Class of 1983, retired from the military in August 2016, several months ahead of his mandatory retirement in October 2016, as Duterte wanted to appoint him to the Bureau of Corrections at the time. He was instead appointed PCSO general manager.

Balutan gained prominence under the administration of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, when he testified on his knowledge of election cheating in the 2004 presidential elections which Arroyo won. Balutan testified at the Senate despite Arroyo's executive order banning government testimonies on the cheating allegations.

At the PCSO, he locked horns with another Duterte appointee, PCSO board member Sandra Cam, who had hurled various allegations against him, ranging from overspending for a Christmas party to favoring a particular company. Balutan had claimed Cam wanted his position. Rappler.com