FORT GREGORIO DEL PILAR, Baguio City — The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matikas” Class of 1983 has slammed the vilifaction campaign of jueteng bagman-turned-whistleblower Sandra Cam and her notorious gambling lord friend Atong Ang against their “mistah” (classmate) Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan.
Every cavalier who met Balutan, who earned the moniker “Mandirigma” (warrior), during the Saturday’s Alumni Homecoming here gave him words of encouragement to stand his ground against the likes of Cam and Ang who were moving “heaven and earth” to monopolize the operation of Small Town Lottery (STL) nationwide.
“Classmates and other Cavaliers (alumni) of the primier military school in Asia took turns approaching him and asking how he was doing amidst all the unfounded accussations neing hurled against him and the agency,” Balutan’s deputy spokesman Florante Solmerin said.
Among these classmates are former military chiefs retired generals Ricardo Visaya and Eduardo Ano, now Administrator of the National Irrigation Adminstration (NIA) and Officer-in-Charge Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, respectively.
Balutan, a retired Marine major general and former vice commander of the Philippine Navy before his early retirement in 2016, was appointed PCSO general manager by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in September 2016.
He was the commander of the main force and led the capture of Camp Abubakar of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2000.
Cavaliers have high respect for Balutan and like other PMAers he has his own share of battles and a colorful military career.
He is a decorated military soldier with 35 military service medals, 50 plaques of appreciation and recognition, the PMAAA Incorporated Cavalier Award, and The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) Award.
True to his dedication, he stands by Courage, Integrity and Loyalty, the academy’s motto.
As PCSO general manager together with the board, Balutan stirred the charity agency to greater heights and achieved a record high revenue collection from P39.5 billion in 2016 to P52.9 billion in 2017.
Cam, a neophyte government appointee to the PCSO board whose background in illegal gamblng is infamous, has since tried to stain the name of Balutan.
No less than Duterte has cleared Balutan on Cam’s media gimmick regarding the PCSO’s Christmas celebration during the launching of the “Malasakit” program for Visayas in Cebu City.
“Wala ‘yun sa akin. Basta ang kuwarta nakaabot lang sa mga canned goods, mga sanina. Kakainin din ‘yan. Total kan-on man gihapon na, isul-ob ma na,” Duterte declared in mixed Tagalog and Cebuano, dismissimg Cam’s allegation of corruption.
Balutan, during a congressional hearing called for the purpose, has since maintained that employees of the charity agency deserved such year-end celebration.
He also said that the PCSO employees did not receive bonus for 2017.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Representative Danilo Suarez has reminded Cam that she should be careful in
accusing anybody, especially a person whose integrity is beyond reproach.
“There was one philosopher who once said, ‘Freedom to shout/speak doesn’t necessarily mean you can shout fire at movie house on a Saturday night.’ Ang ibig sabihin niyan, once you accuse a person it stays. Kapag in-accuse mo si General Balutan that you are corrupt the media will pick it up. But how long will it take General Balutan to clear to the public consumption that he is not corrupt?” the lawmaker from Quezon province said during last week’s hearing.
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