“Now, I pose this challenge to everyone. If anybody can produce the STL (Small Town Lottery) P6.5 billion monthly gross revenue as being taunted by the genius of Senate and Atong Ang, I will resign as GM (General Manager) today.”
This was the challenge posed by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan in view of the recent Senate hearing where he was being accused of corruption.
“I was accused of short changing the government of the revenues supposedly earned from STL with the insinuations that I benefit from it.”
Records show that PCSO-STL made history by generating P15.7-billion revenue today (P1.3 billion/month) from mere P4.7 billion in just one year during his “watch and with strong support, unflinching loyalty and dedicated service of the PCSO’s workforce”.
It can be recalled that Balutan was then a Marine colonel when he testified in the Senate on alleged cheating during the 2004 presidential elections.
“I have spent more than 37 years of my adult life in the Marine Corps, two-thirds of it in the battlefronts. I have survived more than 50 combat encounters and four ambushes against the enemy of the state that most of my detractors never experienced in their lives – in my solemn oath to protect our motherland,” said Balutan.
He described those battles as “real and gruesome scenarios in combat tainted by blood of his marines, far from the ‘acoustic war’ at the Senate supposedly run by ‘professional legal warriors.’
“I will never gamble my impeccable military records as PMA (Philippine Military Academy) Cavalier and TOPS (The Outstanding Philippine Soldier) Awardee and more than 35 military service awards mostly won for gallantry in combat for these flimsy STL issues,” said Balutan.
In 2011, Balutan was one of 10 military personnel who received the TOPS award, given out annually by Metrobank Foundation in partnership with the Rotary Club of Makati Metro.
He was cited for his successful campaigns against Muslim rebels and for forging a peace pact among 18 mayors in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City before the 2004 elections when he was a battalion commander.
“Never in my life have I asked a stupid thing from anyone simply because I can survive on my own. In my stint as GM of PCSO pinangako ko sa sarili ko na hindi ako makikipagusap sa lahat ng tao na may business interest with PCSO outside my office, na baka ako ma-pag-suspetyahan na bias o tumatangap ako ng bribe.”
“I am a full blooded Marine. I am not used to sinister things. It’s not in my system. I am used to fighting!”
Family, friends, former and current co-workers, and followers were quick to express their support on Facebook to the former general.
“Sobra n’yang minamaliit yung karanasan mo sir sa paglilingkod sa ating bayan ng may dangal at buong katapatan. God never fails to guide you sir ‘coz God and we know that you are truly indeed a good man and servant with a big heart. Our prayers will strengthen and guide you always sir Mandirigma (Balutan’s military call sign),” said Leo Vic Aquino.
“The people who truly know you believe in your honesty and integrity. We support you,” said Pangilinan A. Vicks.
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