THE official President Rodrigo Duterte will be firing is not from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), his spokesman said on Wednesday, amid claims that the reason behind the termination was the “lavish” Christmas party the PCSO held in December.
“I can make the confirmation that the official who I was tasked to announce and belatedly told to hold in abeyance is not from the PCSO,” Secretary Harry Roque told a press conference.
Roque said Duterte cited no reason for the delay, but explained that the President was studying the legislative Charter of the agency.
When pressed by media, Roque said: “I will concede this much that I know that there was a legal written document already being prepared. But I guess even that is held in abeyance…unless the document is signed anything can be changed.”
Roque said Duterte held “in high esteem” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan and Sandra Cam, whom the president appointed to the PCSO this year.
Cam accused PCSO officials of organizing a lavish Christmas party at a five-star hotel in Mandaluyong City.
Balutan said the agency was spending P6 million for the party but insisted that the 1,580 PCSO employees deserved it because they worked hard to increase the earnings of the agency.
In a previous radio interview, Roque said Duterte decided to fire a high-ranking official, but would only announce the name on Wednesday because the investigation was still being wrapped up.
During the Wednesday’s press briefing, Roque refused to reveal what the official did to earn the ire of the President.
He, however, stressed that the President usually fired an appointee because of “loss of trust and confidence.”
“Like all presidential appointees, he’s being sacked — or I do not know if he’s still going to be sacked — because of loss of trust and confidence. I repeat, presidential appointees serve at the pleasure of the President. The President does not even need to cite any good cause because that is a nature of a presidential appointment,” Roque said.
“The President is always guided by the Constitution that government officials must serve the Republic, that they must lead modest lives, that they must comply with the laws against graft and corruption. So he is just implementing all the public laws affecting public officials,” he added.
The President has fired some of his appointees over allegations of corruption, incompetence, conflict of interest, or junkets.
In December, Duterte asked Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) president Elba Cruz to vacate her post.
DAP employees accused Cruz of unauthorized organizational restructuring of the DAP, violating Civil Service Commission rules, continuous threats of mass termination against employees, and frequent foreign travels.
Duterte also fired all the commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor over “unnecessary junkets.”
He also sacked former interior secretary Ismael Sueno, former information and communications technology secretary Rodolfo Salalima, and National Irrigation Administration chief Peter Tiu Laviña also on allegations of corruption.