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Sandra Cam respects Duterte’s statement clearing PCSO exec from 'lavish' party

“I respect the statement of the president. But the president cracks jokes a lot of time.” File photo 

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam on Tuesday said she respects President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to clear PCSO General Manager Alex Balutan from the alleged lavish Christmas party.

“I respect the statement of the president. But the president cracks jokes a lot of time,” Cam was quoted by reports during the House committee on Good Government and Public Accountability hearing.

The House panel asked Cam to comment on Duterte’s statement when he said that there is nothing wrong with the supposed lavish Christmas party of the PCSO held in a five-star hotel. 

The committee is conducting an inquiry into Cam’s allegations that Balutan spent P10 million for a Christmas party and the alleged misuse of funds of the PCSO as well as the various charges of corruption and anomalies.

In a speech last Monday, Duterte said there is nothing wrong with holding a lavish party “as long as the money goes to the [purchase of] canned goods and clothes.” Balutan, accused of throwing the grandiose party, was present during the president’s speech.

READ: Sandra Cam seeks probe of PCSO's 'grandiose' party at 5-star hotel

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Despite accepting Duterte’s statement, Cam, who turned emotional during the inquiry, said she would to continue to be a “fiscalizer” in the PCSO. She vowed to monitor the charity funds of the agency to avoid corruption.

"Kailangan kong lumaban dahil nakita ko kung paano diyan sa Philippine Children's Hospital, kung paano, ang mga bata na kailangang bigyan ng tunay na serbisyo ng PCSO, ng ating bayan. Pero anong ginawa? Hindi naman po tama talaga. I disagree – I fully disagree with GM [General Manager Alexander] Balutan regarding the lavish Christmas party,” she said.

Balutan earlier denied Cam’s allegations and said the budget of the party is within just around P6 million. He added that the party is intended to boost the morale of PCSO employees.— Rosette Adel

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