Recent financial scandals in the Armed Forces of the Phillipines have shaken the country
PLUNDER CHARGES FILED AGAINST
All media: April 15, 2011
Retired Lt. Col. George A. Rabusa, former military budget
officer and whistle-blower in the fund scandal charged former AFP chiefs-of-staff Diomedio P. Villanueva, Roy A. Cimatu and
Efren E. Abu and former comptrollers Jacinto C. Ligot and Carlos F. Garcia.
"The complaint focuses on a series of the conversion of funds of
the AFP," Noel M. Malaya, the counsel of Mr. Rabusa, told reporters after filing the complaint.
Irregularities cited in the complaint occurred in 2000 to 2004
and involves over P2 billion in misused military funds, he added.
The complaint also cited monthly support, pabaon and pasalubong
(cash gifts) provided to the former chiefs and cash of others in the charge list.
Late former Defense secretary and AFP chief Angelo T. Reyes was
also cited in the case, but his criminal liabilities were extinguished after he committed suicide in February.
Mr. Rabusa has claimed that Mr. Reyes had received about P150 million;
Mr. Villanueva P227.4 million; and Mr. Cimatu P110 million.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ligot received a total of P360 million in questionable
allowances while in office, and Mr. Garcia received P368 million.
Mr. Rabusa also discussed other issues he raised in Senate inquiries,
such as the misuse of United Nations peace-keeping funds in East Timor, the anomalous purchase of ammunition from Thailand
during the presidency of Joseph E. Estrada, and the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles in 2001.
The comprehensive complaint, Messrs. Rabusa and Malaya said, was
a product of three months of compiling receipts and other documents of the alleged fund misuse in the military...
Rabusa submitted over 20 volumes of evidence containing receipts,
checks and other documents allegedly signed by the respondents during the alleged fund diversion.
An official of the Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday admitted that there was corruption in the
military in the past, but refused to elaborate, noting that the department is still finalizing its report on its independent
investigation on the matter.
“Well, evidently there were irregularities. Even to us, the department [and] the
[Armed Forces of the Philippines]," said DND spokesman Eduardo Batac at a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo. “We cannot
deny at this point. The amounts involved are staggering."
Though mum on details of the findings, Batac said one of
the proposed solutions has to do with “elevating certain positions to higher level and adopting civilians" in handling
the procurement process in the AFP.
The investigation stemmed from allegations made during congressional inquiries
that some past AFP comptrollers and chiefs of staff earned millions of pesos worth in ill-gotten wealth during their stints
in the military, which afforded their families luxuries in the Philippine and abroad.
Batac, during the briefing, said
the special panel under lawyer Patrick Velez is having difficulty in beating its self-imposed 30-day deadline to finish its
He said they are having problems particularly in inviting resource persons to their own investigation
because of the separate and ongoing investigations at the Senate and the House of Representatives.
the situation where we cannot access witnesses at hand, we have to focus on institutional reforms and be forward-looking,"
He said the panel has decided to adopt whatever findings and recommendations that would come out of the
Senate and House investigations. “No other choice. The committee did not have the time and opportunity to investigate
first hand these people."
He added, “I don’t think the committee can do better than what the Senate and
lower house have done. We will follow the findings."
Batac said the panel will just rely on the transcripts of the congressional hearings, although
he admitted that securing copies of the transcripts has been difficult.
Batac said instead of focusing on making their
probe reliant on the testimonies of resource speakers, the panel has instead decided to just concentrate on drawing up a reform
plan to review current practices in the disbursement of AFP funds.
“Reforms are already in place [but] maybe
there is still a need to further enhance a reform. We have to prevent as an organization these things from happening in the
future," he said.
As ordered by Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin, the special DND panel was created to conduct a separate
probe on corruption allegations, hurled particularly by former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa and former government
auditor Heidi Mendoza. [See related: DND to summon whistle-blowers for probe on AFP fund scam]
The panel originally had 30 days, or until February 28, to come up with its report.
But the unavailability of resource speakers forced the panel to seek a 15-day extension. It asked for another 15-day extension,
or until March 30, after it shifted its focus to crafting reforms proposals.
Batac said the panel held a two-day workshop
to elicit ideas from officials and officers on how to reform the military. He said the workshop resulted in the formulation
of 86 proposals, which have yet to be filtered then included in the panel’s final report.
Batac refused to give
details on the proposals but said they were about “procurement process, logistic management, fund disbursement, and
several other aspects which will basically address the necessary check and balance mechanisms."
MANILA, Philippines -- A Philippine defense official says that an ongoing investigation has shown that "staggering amounts"
of military funds have been lost to corruption in the past.
Department of National Defense spokesman Eduardo Batac said Wednesday that an investigating committee is finalizing 86
proposals to shield military logistical purchases, combat funds and troop salaries from graft.
Batac says his department will focus on strengthening the 126,000-strong military against corruption and
let state prosecutors charge generals and officers suspected of massive graft.
An ex-military budget officer told the Senate in January that three former military chiefs pocketed millions of dollars
in military funds. The three denied the allegations and one later committed suicide.
orders probe into corruption in AFP By Edu Punay(The
Philippine Star) March 26, 2011
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered a fact-finding investigation into the
alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines that was exposed during the congressional inquiry into the plunder
case against former military comptroller retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.
De Lima said she is creating a special team that would dig deeper into the controversy
and gather more evidence to pinpoint which former generals or officials could be held liable for amassing public funds while
still in the service.
She said the panel, which would be formally created on Monday, would start collating
all pieces of evidence, information and reports from both houses of Congress and also from the AFP ahead of a preliminary
investigation on a delayed complaint affidavit of whistleblower retired military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa.
“I decided to go ahead with the fact-finding evaluation first since the complaint
affidavit of Colonel Rabusa is still being finalized but it’s forthcoming,” De Lima explained.
De Lima revealed that she had also decided to order preliminary investigation (PI) and
creation of a panel of state prosecutors upon the filing of Rabusa’s affidavit.
She stressed that the fact-finding probe is meant to back up the preliminary investigation.
“If there are other names that would crop up, we will have no choice but to create
another panel for PI,” he said.
De Lima said the team would start with reports of the Senate and House inquiries and
might also request for documents from the Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense.
Meanwhile, De Lima likewise supported the move of the Senate to order the arrest of
former military comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife Erlinda for faking their health conditions to evade hearings.
“They should really be cited for contempt because their repeated way of invoking
right against self incrimination is insulting to the intelligence,” she said.
A military budget officer said more than a decade ago, he received a car and between P300,000 and
P500,000 monthly from retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, the whistle-blower on alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the
Col. Tomas Donato told a senate hearing on Thursday that Rabusa, a former military budget officer,
had given him a Honda Civic, but he did not know what it was for.
"I didn't ask. I was just thankful," said Donato
who had the rank of major when he was Rabusa's assistant.
During the hearing, when senators asked what the car was
for, Rabusa said he gave it because Tomas was "very loyal to me."
Rabusa said Donato was the one who assisted him
in converting military funds for the personal use of ranking military officials.
Rabusa said he used "converted" military
funds to purchase an P800,000 car.
Rabusa revealed he also passed on to Lt. Col. Antonio "Sonny" Lim, the deputy budget
officer who replaced Donato, his old Honda Civic car.
P300K to P500K for office supplies
Donato testified at
the senate hearing that he also used to get P300,000 to P500,000 from Rabusa.
Donato claimed that the money was allegedly
used for the military comptroller's office supplies and for additional allowances for AFP personnel.
Donato said he
keeps a record of the people reportedly used the money from Rabusa for supplies and allowance.
Asked if he has turned
over the said record to Rabusa, Donato said no.
P2K to P20K for personal use
In his testimony, Donato said aside
from the car and the P300,000 to P500,000 monthly fund, Rabusa also gave him "for his personal use" an amount ranging from
P2,000 to P20,000 monthly.
However, Rabusa belied Donato' statement and said he used to give Tomas not only P20,000
but at least P100,000 a month.
Rabusa said he never gave Donato P2,000 because the former looks at such an amount
as "barya" (small change).
When asked to confirm if he indeed received P100,000 for his personal use, Donato said:
"Hindi ko na po maalala, your honor [I can no longer remember, your honor]."
that he has never seen the vaults inside Rabusa's office, where the money from Rabusa was allegedly kept.
Rabusa belied Donato' claims and said it was "impossible" for his former assistant not to see the vaults in his office.
Monday, Rabusa's claims were backed by fellow retired military budget officer Perla Valerio, who claimed she was the one who
prepared the documents for the release of the funds handed over to the generals.
On Thursday, Valerio confirmed that
she has been seeing Donato getting usually around P500,000 from Rabusa.
At a Senate hearing
in February, Rabusa accused the late Defense chief Angelo Reyes of receiving around P100 million while he served as AFP chief
of staff, and not less than P50 million more as "pabaon" (send-off money) when Reyes retired in March 2001.
likewise claimed that other military heads benefited from the practice of giving "pabaon."
Reyes, who committed suicide
on February 8 this year, had denied the allegations and intended to sue Rabusa for libel.
Reyes killed himself in
front of his mother’s grave.
Based on the findings of a special investigation task group of the National Capital
Region Police Office (NCRPO), Reyes died of a “self-inflicted wound" from a single gunshot apparently from a caliber
According to eyewitnesses cited by the police, Reyes, his bodyguard, a driver, and two sons arrived at
around 7:00 a.m. at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City on February 8.
Sometime before 7:30 a.m. that day, Reyes
reportedly told his sons and bodyguard to go ahead to where their car was parked.
Then, standing alone in front of
the grave of his mother, a single shot rang out and he fell to the ground. – VVP, GMA News
DND to summon whistle-blowers for probe on AFP fund scam
MARK D. MERUEÑAS, GMANews.TV, 02/04/2011
The special investigating committee created by the Department of National Defense (DND) will summon whistle-blowers
as it begins its probe on alleged military fund scams in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
On Friday, the
first day of its investigation, probe committee vice-chairman Defense Assistant Secretary Fernando Manalo suggested that
the panel should invite to testify the whistle-blowers who spoke about pay-offs and corruption in the military.
should subpoena [retired] Col George Rabusa and Heidi Mendoza," said Manalo.
Rabusa was a former military budget officer
who earlier claimed to have been the "bagman" of military generals and civilian officials who allegedly received pay-offs
in the past.
Mendoza, meanwhile, was a former government auditor who investigated the case of retired Maj. Gen.
Carlos Garcia, who faced a P300-million plunder case. Defense Secretary Voltair Gazmin last week created the body to probe
among others Garcia's case and the claims that former military chief of staff Angelo Reyes received at least P50 million
in "pabaon" (send-off money) before leaving the service.
"There will be little sleep for the committee. This is
a thorough investigation," said committee chairman Atty. Patrick Velez. He said his committee has 30 days to conduct their
Aside from Reyes, other military officials planned to be summoned to the DND probe include former military
chiefs Roy Cimatu and Diomedio Villanueva, who also allegedly received "pabaons."
The panel also plans on inviting
Lt. Col. Antonio Ramon "Sonny" Lim, a former aide of Reyes who corroborated corruption claims made by Rabusa. "We should also
be summoning the accountant, Atty. Edith Santos," Manalo added.
"In so far as this investigation is concerned, we
are positive we can get the information needed in the structure of the military and the defense," he said.
other agencies like the Commission on Audit have already signified their willingness to cooperate in the probe.
the end of the DND investigation, the panel would recommend possible administrative and criminal charges, as well as disciplinary
actions, Velez said.
"This investigation is not a panacea for everything... but this would make the AFP and the DND
a better servant of the people," he said.
Both Mendoza and Rabusa earlier claimed in separate inquiries that the military
had diverted million of dollars that was part of a grant from the United Nations.
Rabusa had also said while he was
still serving as budget officer of the AFP from 2000 to 2002, he was the one in charge to keep what he called a "Provisions
for Command-directed Activities (PCDA)" slush fund - where the supposed "pabaons" were sourced.
Maj. Gen. Pedro Soria,
chief of the military's Resources Management Office who served as resource speaker on Friday's inquiry, told the committee
that his office has records of the AFP budget from 1999 up to the present.
However, he admitted they could not check
if such a PCDA fund was indeed used by ranking officials for their personal use prior to 2005.
Soria said their records
on UN grants only go as far as 2005, when his office was created in light of the controversy caused by Garcia's plunder case
Another AFP anomaly
By Romeo Y. Lim in Malaya Business Insight
IT has been reported that former AFP chiefs of staff who testified
during the Garcia hearings have avowed that there are no more large-scale graft and corruption practices that merit scrutiny.
This writer has, however, stumbled upon documents that may not approximate
the magnitude of the Garcia case but their authenticity is unquestionable and a significant amount of almost P50,000,000 of
AFP funds were funneled elsewhere.
The documents trace an anomalous transaction perpetrated during the
time of then MGen Jonathan Martir who was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Comptrollership (J6) from September 2008 to March
One would remember Martir as the officer who went on Absent without
Leave from the AFP. Records show that then Col. Martir left the country on five separate occasions, in 1994, in 1997, in 1998,
in 2002 and in 2003, all without the necessary travel orders required by law for military personnel.
Despite this obvious infraction, Martir went on to become a Major
General under the GMA administration and passed the Commission on Appointments despite opposition from officers such as Medal
of Valor awardee Col. Ariel Querubin and former Marines commanding general Renato Miranda.
During his term, he pushed for the approval and acceptance of the
Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) and the Video-teleconferencing (VTC) Project which were supposed to improve communication and security
between and among different AFP command units but specifically coursed through the Communications Electronics Information
System Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (CEISSAFP). The company ComWorks, Inc. was the sole supplier who got the contract
pervasiveness of the corruption in the government where I served my whole professional life as its dutiful soldier is so appalling
that even the most patient and uncomplaining of us will be moved to acts of revolt...
If we want to see a professional
army beholden and faithful to civilian rule, then we must fight for good and democratic governance, we must put into office
civilian authorities that could govern effectively without resorting to military intervention to extract consent and exercise
We must put an end to electoral misconduct, grand scale fraud and vote padding-shaving by introducing important
electoral reform laws to democratize the electoral process and insulate it from the machinations of traditional politicians
and elite families.
Poor leadership from civilian authorities puts the soldiers and their institution in a tongue-tied situation.
Let us remember the ascension of military establishments do not happen in strong, legitimate and democratic governments, they
happen when civilian authorities are weak, when there is an absent of strong political parties, when democratic institutions
are anything but democratic.
the military must be isolated from politics – that is, partisan politics of politicians who knock on our barracks for
armed support. We call for another form of politicalization among our ranks, a heightening of their social consciousness,
and an adherence to the politics of the people – namely, to defend human rights, political liberties and democracy."
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