It used to be that when something sinister happens in our country, we ask the top authorities – the ones tasked to safeguard the peace, order and security – “what is going on” or “what has gone wrong”?
Many still probably remember the pathetic words of former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, when he lay wounded in his hospital bed during an assassination attempt, asking in a faint voice, then Quezon City police chief Brig. Gen. Tomas Karingal, “What is happening to our country, General?”
These days it is the other way around. The citizens are now asking the country: “What is happening to our Generals?” A very apt question, indeed.
This is even made relevant and appropriate now in light of the scandalous exposé by former Col. George Rabusa divulging corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the form of military payola for the top brass.
During the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, whistle-blower Rabusa implicated former Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes to have received a regular P5 million payoff in his 20 months in office, and was gifted with some P50 million as send-off money on his retirement in 2001.
He has also involved former chief of staffs Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu as to have received P10 million each as “start-up fund” and more than P50 million in “send-off money”, but did not specify the figures. Villanueva was AFP chief of staff for 14 months (from March 2001 to May 2002) and Cimatu for just four months (from May 2002 to September 2002).
Rabusa is not clean either as he admitted that he also shared in the annual pot of P480 million, known as the provisions for command-directed activities (PCDA) and distributed by the comptroller at the discretion of the AFP chief of staff. He is said to have amassed some P50 million during his stint as Garcia’s budget officer.
In an affidavit that Rabusa will be executing, he said it will only cover the period when he served as budget officer from 2000 to 2002 under Reyes, Villanueva and Cimatu, and under comptrollers Jacinto Ligot and Garcia.
“I can’t talk beyond that or before that. Otherwise, we will not be perceived as credible,” he said.
It is in this context that Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Franklin Drilon and Francis Escudero found and agreed that Rabusa’s testimony was credible enough to be the basis for filing charges against Reyes in a court and that Rabusa could turn state witness.
We do not know how far back, down, up and wide this investigation will go or whether or not somebody will go to jail for being part of this outrageous anomaly.
What is important, however, is that the people are given a picture of the present breed of some contemptible Generals we have in the guise of serving the country today.
Their indecency, high-handedness and false pretenses has not only been unmasked, but, their disregard and indifference to human lives of soldiers receiving meager pay, yet, fighting and dying in different forefront of battle in this country is simply detestable and unpalatable.
It, likewise, gives affirmation, consolation and justice to those young idealistic officers who opted to get out of the service early on or have grouped and rebelled, as in the case of former Captain now Senator Antonio Trillanes, et al, against an unconscionable and a perceived corrupt organization headed by top ranking military officers.
(Note: Please see related article entry dated February 3, 2011 under About. Thanks. – Quierosaber)