Senator Antonio Trillanes IV slams President Rodrigo Duterte for the alleged P10-million Christmas party of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO, held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong last Thursdy, December 19, as earlier exposed by PCSO board member and former jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam.
In a recent interview over Sonshine Media Network, Cam revealed that she decided not to attend the PCSO Christmas party as a protest because she found it too expensive, and criticized PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz and General Manager Alexander Balutan. However, she said that she can’t blame them for being insensitive for the agency that provides assistance to the poor.
“That’s extravagant. Why does it have to be grandiose? Christmas party ito ng mismong charity office ng Presidente. They’re military generals. They don’t have the heart for the poor dahil sila militar, utos dito utos doon. I’m telling them, Balutan, that I am not your soldier. I will only follow the President. Wala akong sisinuhin sa inyo pagdating sa corruption,” Cam, said.
As a defense, Balutan categorgically denied that the PCSO spent P10 million for their Christmas party, saying that the budget for the said event is only P6 million, and it is not extravagant. He claimed that the 1,580 PCSO employees deserved the party because they worked hard to increase the earnings of the agency.
“‘Yung P6 million na ‘yun is not grandiose considering the number of employees nationwide not only here in Shaw Boulevard, main office. We also want to give something to the employees especially na na-cut ‘yung aming bonus. Walang Christmas bonus ito,” Balutan said, adding that the budget was approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the PCSO board.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte would look into the matter, and that the president would personally communicate with PCSO officials to verify the information. He emphasized that the administration will not tolerate luxurious events. Meanwhile, Trillanes expressed his dismay on the issue.
“Hindi dapat gumastos ng milyon-milyon ang PCSO dahil higit na kinakailangan ng mahihirap ang pondo para sa gamot o pag-oospital ng mga mahihirap. At hind rin ako naniniwala na walang basbas yan ni Duterte. Sino ba ang pumipirma ng approval pag may mga ganyang kalaking budget? Di ba yung mama lang naman sa Malakanyang?” Trillanes said.