PCSO Chairman Clears 1st Family
Tuazon, Brenda P., Manila Bulletin
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, through its Chairman Rosario Lopez, citing official documents, yesterday cleared President Estrada, the First Lady Dr. Luisa ''Loi'' Ejercito Estrada, and their family of accusations that they diverted PCSO charity funds for personal and political purposes.
Showing official documents, Lopez declared that there could not have been any diversion of funds intended for charity projects and deviation from the approved resolutions of the PCSO Board of Directors then headed by former Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma with Sister Christine Tan's approving signature as PCSO board member.
This developed as President Estrada urged the Commission on Audit and the prestigious accounting firm of Sycip, Gorres, and Velayo to speed up its auditing of PCSO books.
The President had earlier ordered the COA, with assistance from the Sycip, Gorres, and Velayo firm, to audit the books of the PCSO following claims that a subvstantial part of its funds had found their way into offices headed by the First Lady, and their son, San Juan Mayor Jinggoy Estrada.
Mr. Estrada denied that PCSO funds were diverted to the Office of the President, the Office of the First Lady, and the League of Municipalities headed by the San Juan mayor amounting to P430 million "for partisan endeavors."
The President said the First Lady and San Juan Mayor Estrada are ready to face a Senate investigation on the matter.
According to Lopez, the PCSO had official records and documents, and built-in checks and balances including an internal audit aystem under the Commission on Audit (COA) to protect the integrity of the PCSO board's charity fund approval and disbursements.
The PCSO said that projects are approved separately by the PCSO board for specific projects, subject to approval from the Office of the President, availability of funds, and the applicable accounting and auditing laws, rules, and regulations. …