Integrity Philippines --------Pinoy Solutions to Corruption

NEWS - FEB. 1 - 9, 2011

Pinoy Solutions to Corruption
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CONGRESSMAN: PLUNDER RAPS VS GENERALS FORTHCOMING >>> A congressman said on Thursday he believes the justice department will be filing cases against individuals involved in military corruption based on the disclosures of former military budget officer George Rabusa and other whistleblowers. "I'm sure with [Justice] Secretary Leila de Lima there, a plunder case can be filed against a lot of people," Parañaque City 2nd District Rep. Roilo Golez said in an interview on ANC's Headstart. Golez said revelations made by Rabusa in Senate hearings since last week can be used against those involved in anomalies. Rabusa had accused 3 former military chiefs the late Angelo Reyes, Roy Cimatu and Diomedio Villanueva of pocketing military funds. Also implicated in the military fund scam were former military comptrollers Jacinto Ligot and Carlos Garcia. The 5 former military top officials were accused of receiving military funds for their personal use.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE PROBES "CORRUPT" GENERALS: The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday said it is investigating personalities named in congressional inquiries on alleged corruption in the military. Speaking to reporters at the Department of Justice (DOJ), BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said the BIR "is an avid and interested reader and viewer of any investigation," and takes appropriate actions without anybody's prodding. "Every time there's this type of controversy, the BIR is always at the heels of it," Henares said. "We do that even without people telling us to do it, and when we are investigating, we do that in confidence, without telling people we are investigating. The only time people will know is when we already file the charges," Henares added.

MAP CALLS FOR BETTER ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES: The Management Association of the Philippines is calling on Congress to come up with improved anti-corruption measures, to ensure that corruption in the government is eliminated or at least kept to a bare minimum.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WILL CONTINUE PROBE OF ARMED FORCES CORRUPTION: The Department of Justice (DOJ) will press on with its probe into alleged corruption in the military in spite of the suicide of former Armed Forces chief of staff and former defense chief Angelo Reyes. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in an interview with reporters...that the probe "is not just about Reyes" thus the need to continue with it. "We grieve with the [Reyes] family, but we have a higher issue to confront," De Lima said.

"PROPER" TRANSFER URGED FOR PEACEKEEPING FUNDS IN NY: The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has recommended the transfer of the $3.3-million peacekeeping funds from a Philippine account in New York to the National Treasury "for proper accounting and safekeeping," a statement from the department said. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said he has concurred with the proposal of Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Libran Cabactulan for the immediate transfer of the money, which was accumulated since 2008 as reimbursements from the UN for the equipment being used by the Philippine contingent in Haiti.

REYES BELIEVED HE WAS TARGET OF PROBE: Former military chief of staff Angelo Reyes believed he was the main target of the Senate probe of massive corruption in the military under two former comptrollers, his former aide said. Col. Edgardo de Leon on Wednesday said that Reyes had believed that the other retired top officials implicated by former military budget officer George Rabusa were just "cosmetics."

OMBUDSMAN WANTS EX-OMBUDSMAN CITED FOR INDIRECT CONTEMPT: The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a petition with the Sandiganbayan to cite former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and former Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio for indirect contempt after both allegedly came out with erroneous information that cast doubt on the integrity and competence of the office. The petition stemmed from the open letter the 2 sent to President Benigno Aquino III informing him about the plea bargaining agreement entered into by the Ombudsman and retired Major General Carlos Garcia. The said letter was also posted on the websites of Newsbreak and the Transparency and Accountability Network. The Ombudsman said that posting the letter in these websites prove that the intent was to make its content public.

MENDOZA: NO TO GOV'T POST, ACCEPTS KIDS ADVICE >>> With the public spotlight focused on her following her testimony in the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, former auditor Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit (COA) is not inclined to accept any government post on the advice of her children. Given her circumstances now, Mendoza preferred that her next job would be in the private sector.

DFA HOLDS BACK UN'S $3m FUNDS FOR PEACEKEEPERS, FEARS MISUSE: A committee in the House of Representatives was told Wednesday that $3.3 million in United Nations funds for Filipino peacekeepers in Haiti had been withheld over concerns that UN money might be misused by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. At the House defense committee hearing on UN peacekeeping funds, officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that the move in Haiti also was prompted by allegations AFP officials were skimming off allowances of the Filipino troops on UN missions. UN funding of Filipino peacekeepers was included in a special audit in connection with the plunder case against former AFP comptroller Carlos Garcia.

COA TO REVIEW ASSIGNMENT OF AUDITORS NATIONWIDE: Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar will order a review of the assignment history of government auditors nationwide to determine if there are assessors staying beyond their three-year terms. "I will have all of these looked into," he told The STAR. The plan to institute reforms in the commission came on the heels of reports that Philippine Navy resident auditor Divina Cabrera received bribe money during her 13-year stint in the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). Villar said he will also implement rules that will allow the agency to immediately replace resident auditors accused of involvement in irregular transactions. "If there is a complaint against a resident auditor, he will be replaced even if he has not yet finished his three-year term," he said.

GRAFT RAPS FILED AGAINST CUSTOMS COLLECTOR: Finance department employees have filed fraud and graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman against Port of Manila customs collector Rogel Gatchalian. Lawyer Esteban Garong said Gatchalian allegedly defrauded the government of more than P3 million in revenues after he facilitated the release of misdeclared goods without paying the necessary taxes. Garong said through proper training and good intelligence network, he got hold of the gate pass cleared by Gatchalian for a shipment of 17 containers declared as dredgers, but the amount paid was only for 3 containers amounting to P550,000.

MAP URGES THAT PROBE CONTINUE: The death of former military chief Angelo Reyes gives the government all the more reason to complete its investigation into the massive corruption in the armed forces, business executives said...The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) expressed its condolences to the family of Reyes..."We, in MAP, are saddened by the unfortunate turn of events in the case of former AFP chief of staff, General Angelo Reyes. We extend our condolences to his family and we all respect the need for privacy in their hour of bereavement," the group said in a statement. However, it said Reyes' untimely death should not stop the ongoing investigation into the web of corruption in the military..."Congress has to complete its investigation, craft new or improved anti-corruption measures, and recommend appropriate legal action against erring government officials. This is one way to ensure that Gen. Reyes' death will not be in vain," MAP said. MAP also said that its insistence to prosecute all those involved in the AFP mess should not be linked to this tragedy or be seen as a cause of it." "We continue to urge vigilance in promoting the need for integrity in public service. There are many men and women whose sacrifices in providing honesty and perseverance in public service need to be remembered too on this sad day."

FORMER ARMED FORCES CHIEF: REYES "PROTECTED US ALL" >>> Former Armed Forces chief Angelo Reyes "protected us all" when he died Tuesday, another ex-military chief said in an interview at Reyes' wake in a funeral home in Quezon City. "He protected all of us, even the institution, for the Filipino people, for us to move on," General Dionisio Santiago, former Armed Forces chief when Reyes was defense secretary, said in Filipino in an interview with media in Arlington. Santiago said he never thought that Reyes would do it, referring to the apparent suicide of the military officer early Tuesday when he shot himself in the chest at the grave of his mother in Marikina City. Santiago said he appreciated Reyes more because what he did was "an act of courage to save the PMA [Philippine Military Academy] and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]."

BISHOPS: PROBE SHOULD CONTINUE >>> Senior Roman Catholic officials offered their condolences over the passing of former Energy Secretary and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Angelo Reyes. They said, however, that the investigations on the anomalies in the military should

MILITARY AIDE ADMITS GETTING P10m "FOR OPERATIONS": One of the bagmen identified by whistle-blower George Rabusa admitted to receiving P10 million for his boss, then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Roy Cimatu, but said the money was used for legitimate purposes.

LAWMAKERS NOT ABANDONING PROBE: There may be questions that would never find answers with the death of former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes. But lawmakers believe that despite his demise, they would still be able to paint a comprehensive picture of the anomalies that had beset the Armed Forces, and vowed to continue with the investigations.

MENDOZA DETAILS MORE MISUSE OF FUNDS: About half of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization fund for 2001 was diverted for the purchase of office supplies...Heidi Mendoza disclosed...before the House of she fleshed out a money trail of AFP funds that were misused, converted or diverted from their intended purposes. She said 94% of some P1.6 billion of the modernization fund went into letters of credit that were credited in advance. She noted this ensured extra revenue will be made out of the amount. In 2001, around 50% of the fund went to the purchase of office supplies, with a hefty P76 million spent during the last 3 days of the year. Mendoza said several transactions worth P17.9 million were made on December 28, 2001, and the suppliers were all the same. There were purchases of folders, toners, copy papers, printer ribbons, clear books, transparencies and diskettes. Further investigation though revealed that the printer ribbons did not match available printers at the AFP.

AQUINO TALKS WITH MENDOZA ABOUT POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT POST: President Aquino is still waiting for the decision of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza on whether she will consider working in his administration. Aquino disclosed that he talked to Mendoza last Monday night about the possible government post but the witness said that she still has to think it over.

5 MAKATI CITY POLICE EXTORT LAPTOPS FROM FOREIGN TOURIST: (Fron Australia Herald-Sun)Five Filipino policemen forced a German tourist to buy them laptop computers by threatening him with false charges. The incident, which took place in Manila's upscale financial district of Makati, is the latest embarrassment for the country's police force. Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Froilan Bonifacio expressed outrage and said the accused policemen may have carried out similar extortion scams in the past.

WITNESS: GENERAL'S SUICIDE WON'T STOP TESTIMONY >>> "I started this and I'll finish it," former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa told the ABS-CBN network. He said at least four retired generals, including two former military chiefs of staff, could be charged with plunder based on evidence in his possession. Rabusa's lawyer, Noel Malaya, told The Associated Press dozens of retired and active military personnel and some government auditors who took bribes to overlook massive corruption could also be held liable if the Department of Justice decides to charge them.

GEN. REYES COMMITS SUICIDE AT MOTHER'S GRAVE: Former Armed Forces Chief and Defense Secretary Angelo Tomas Reyes on Tuesday morning committed suicide by shooting himself in front of the grave of his mother at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City. He was 65...Reyes, who earlier suffered a mild stroke before the congressional investigations on the alleged AFP financial irregularities, said he could not take anymore the smear campaign against his name and his family. Not my family, he said. Reyes, who loved his mother very much when she was still alive, earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview that he would never do anything that would besmirch the name of my good mother.

DE LIMA HOPES SANDIGANBAYAN WILL "SEE THE LIGHT": On Tuesday's hearing of the House justice committee on the plea bargain deal of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia with the Office of the Ombudsman, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima called on the Sandiganbayan to "see the light" with all of the revelations made in Congress investigations. The legality of the plea bargain agreement is pending before the Sandiganbayan and the decision is set to be released this month. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, however, said in a Senate inquiry that her office will ask the Sandiganbayan to hold its decision on the matter.

PALACE WON'T DEFEND GENERAL: Malacañang will not defend Special Envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu from allegations that he received some P80 million in sendoff money when he retired as Armed Forces chief. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Cimatu cannot invoke an executive order on executive privilege issued during the Arroyo administration to refuse to testify before the Senate. "If he will be summoned by the Senate, we have no EO 464 to stop anyone from appearing before the Senate," he said.

MORE WHISTLEBLOWERS PREDICTED: Whistle-blower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada said President Benigno Aquino III's promise to reform the bureaucracy could encourage more Heidi Mendozas and George Rabusas to expose government irregularities. Lozada, a former official who claimed he was instructed to "moderate the greed" in the scuttled $329-million NBN-ZTE deal during the Arroyo administration, said the revelations at the congressional inquiries did not surprise him. He said he knew that misuse of funds revealed by Mendoza, a former auditor of the Commission on Audit (COA), and Rabusa, a former budget officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was rampant in the military just like in any other state agency. "What surprised me is the fact that there are persons who have stepped forward to tell the truth"

P20m SLUSH FUND BARED, "CONVERSION" OF FUNDS FOR TROOPS REPLENISHED IT: The Armed Forces chief of staff as well as other officials had ready cash for their personal and operational usea P20-million "sinking fund," a former military budget officer said...To replenish the amount, Rabusa said the budget office would convert funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and personnel services (PS) into the slush fund...He said that auditor Divina Cabrera and by extension her immediate boss, then Commissioner Raul Flores of the Commission on Audit, were aware of the conversion of ISAFP funds for the slush fund. "Our auditor was aware of this"...Two percent of the P5 million or P100,000 was given to Cabrera. "She even asked for an increase, from 1 percent to 2 percent"...Rabusa also said that Cabrera introduced him to her "handler," Raul Flores, whom he met at Steaktown on West Avenue in Quezon City and SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. He said he handed Flores an envelope containing P200,000 each time they met. He said they met at least three times...Cabrera, however, said that she did not find any irregularity in the liquidation of ISAFP funds because she audited only documents that were submitted to her...Cabrera admitted to owning a P2.5-million house on a 600-sq-m property at the posh Loyola Grand Villas subdivision in Quezon City...Rabusa reiterated that he and Garcia had converted almost P1 billion in 2002, and this amount went to ISAFP and J7.

GENERAL'S WIFE TRAVELED OVERSEAS 42 TIMES: Can a general's wife purchase houses in the United States and travel 42 times abroad without the husband knowing it? Sen. Jinggoy Estrada Monday confronted a former military comptroller, retired Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, over the questionable activities of his wife - Erlinda Yambao Ligot - as part of the Senate investigation of corruption in the military...In all, the senator alleged that the Ligots owned eight pieces of real estate in the United States. Besides the houses, Estrada said he had documents showing that Erlinda traveled abroad 42 times from 1993 to 2004. But what particularly piqued the senator's interest were the 13 trips she purportedly took with Teresita Reyes, wife of then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Angelo Reyes, from 1999 to 2004. Reyes is accused of pocketing P50 million in send-off gift (pabaon) when he retired in 2001 after 20 months in office, on top of a P5-million monthly allocation during his term. He denied the allegations. Retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa...said he used to hand out shopping money whenever the wife of Reyes traveled in the country and abroad. He said airfare and payment for accommodations were shouldered by the Office of the Chief of Staff.

EX-COA COMMISIONER BRIBED REGULARLY: A former commissioner of the Commission on Audit (COA) had allegedly received a regular bribe of at least P200,000 bribe from the military, a witness said during a Senate hearing on Monday. Testifying before the Senate blue ribbon committee, former military budget officer, Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa claimed that he was the one who was personally handled an envelope containing at least P200,000 to retired CoA commissioner Raul Flores. Rabusa said Flores was introduced to him by the former resident auditor of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Divina Cabrera. Cabrera, who was at the hearing, was resident auditor of ISAFP for 13 years from 1991 to 2005.

HEIDI MENDOZA TO CONTINUE FIGHT DESPITE THREATS: Heidi Mendoza, the former state auditor who blew the whistle on the alleged corruption in the military, is unfazed with the death threats and will continue to testify in any investigation on the plea bargaining deal between the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia. "I will go through with this until the end. As [the] people say, there's no turning back," Mendoza told reporters in Filipino after Monday's Senate inquiry on the plea bargaining agreement. Mendoza's camp over the weekend said she has been receiving death threats after she testified in a congressional hearing last week. Mendoza, however, was unmoved. "I don't deserve these threats. I believe that everything that happens is Gods will," she said.

EX-COA COMMISSIONER, AUDITOR ACCUSED: A former commissioner of the Commission on Audit and a resident auditor formerly assigned with the Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) were allegedly paid off so that military funds can be converted, former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa said Monday. Testifying before a Senate panel hearing on Monday, Rabusa said he gave former COA Commissioner Raul Flores at least P200,000 whenever he asked for it. "Depende po sa pangangailangan. Hindi po bababa sa P200,000 ang binibigay ko sa kanya (It depends on his needs. But I don't give him anything below P200,000)," he told the Senate blue ribbon committee looking into the plea bargain deal between former Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman. On the other hand, he said former ISAFP auditor Divina Cabrera received 2 percent of the funds, usually sourced from the personnel services, which were converted to be used for the alleged payoff scheme in the military. Rabusa said Cabrera had even requested during one occasion to burn documents that might leave a trail on the questionable conversions.

8 HOUSES IN US TRACED TO GENERAL'S WIFE: The wives of generals allegedly had their share in the largesse illegally drawn from military funds for their husbands, enabling them to travel in style, go on shopping sprees, and buy houses in the United States. At a Senate hearing yesterday, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada presented photographs of two houses supposedly bought by Erlinda Yambao Ligot in California when her husband, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, was the military comptroller. Ligot was the AFP comptroller when Angelo Reyes was Armed Forces chief of staff. The hearing was on the plea bargain deal between former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and the Ombudsman. There are eight houses in the US - mostly in California - in Mrs. Ligot's name, Estrada said, citing records.

RABUSA LINKS REPRESENTATIVE TO MILITARY CORRUPTION: Rabusa said that former Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay visited the office of then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes several times allegedly to partake of the "conversion" of funds in the military. "Every time he visits the office of the Chief of Staff, [then former military comptroller Carlos] Garcia would call me and direct me to prepare P500,000 for Pichay" He said he can't remember the exact number of times that Pichay supposedly went there. It will not be less than 3, he claimed, for which Pichay received no less than P1.5 million.

LAWMAKER: MENDOZA RECEIVES DEATH THREAT >>> Two days before she is scheduled to testify anew before Congress on alleged financial irregularities in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, former state auditor turned whistleblower Heidi Mendoza received a death threat, a lawmaker said Sunday. House of Representatives justice committee chairman Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. said they are coordinating with government agencies to secure Mendoza and her family.

HOUSE TAKES UP FEUD OVER AURORA ECOZONE: The Angaras are trying to fight off moves to repeal the law that created the Aurora special economic zone and free port. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and his aunt Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo are pitted against militant groups including two party-list lawmakers. Angara, son of the senator, told members of the House committee on agrarian reform investigating alleged violations of the law committed by the Apeco administrators that amendments to the law that created the ecozone are welcome if necessary but he rejected an outright repeal as proposed by Fr. Joefran Talaban, parish priest.

HOUSE BODY TO ASK HEIDI MENDOZA ON $5m IN UN FUNDS: Former state auditor Heidi Mendoza will be the star witness in a new probe in the House of Representatives that seeks to track down those who pocketed United Nations funds for Filipino soldiers deployed overseas. Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chair of the House defense committee, told the Inquirer that Mendoza would be asked to share details of her findings on the $5 million that the UN had paid the Philippines for sending its peacekeeping forces abroad.

COA CHIEFS SUMMONED TO PROBE: Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Reynaldo Villar and his predecessors were summoned to appear before the House of Representatives committee on justice for the resumption of the inquiry on alleged corruption in the Armed Forces tomorrow. Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, committee on justice vice chairman, said former COA chairman Guillermo Carague was among the state auditors invited to the inquiry, along with retired chiefs of the Armed Forces, who were not able to testify in the previous hearing.

IS GARCIA OUT ON BAIL FOR GOOD? Lawyers admit the Sandiganbayan's decision to grant him bail complicates case >>> Singing a different tune, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez said she would consider filing a manifestation withdrawing a controversial plea bargain deal struck with former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, amid fresh revelations pinning the latter on charges of plunder. There's a catch, however: the said plea bargain has already been "partially executed." Gutierrez told a Senate hearing she would consider filing a manifestation to withdraw the plea bargain deal in light of new revelations from former state auditor Heidi Mendoza and ex-Army Lt. Col. George Rabusa. Sen. Francis Escudero pointed out, however, that a withdrawal could be rendered useless by the fact that Garcia is already out on bail for the lighter offenses of direct bribery and money laundering.

PALACE TO EX-PRESIDENT: SPEAK UP IF NOTHING TO HIDE >>> Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should be confident enough to tell the public that she has nothing to do with the scandal in the military, a Malacanang official said. In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said while it is up to Arroyo to answer new allegations against her, "kung walang itinatago, wala dapat ikatakot [in participating]." Different militant groups and lawmakers are calling for a probe against Arroyo for her possible links to the military's "pabaon" system. Arroyo's name is being dragged anew to allegations of corruption following the revelation of a former budget officer of the military that different chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under her administration received either send-off money or welcome gifts while in position.

SANDIGAN ASKED: DEFER ACTION ON PLEA BARGAIN >>> The Office of the Ombudsman has asked the Sandiganbayan to "hold in abeyance" the plea bargaining agreement between special state prosecutors and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia. "It may be reasonable to hold in abeyance the approval of the plea bargaining agreement to await the results of the legislative inquiries and the assessment by the Office of the Ombudsman of the new evidence," the Office of the Ombudsman said in a manifestation filed with the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division. "In view of the recent developments arising out of simultaneous legislative inquiries being conducted by the Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives and the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Senate of the Philippines in connection with the plea bargaining agreement, the Office of the Ombudsman is now seriously assessing its position and studying the legal implications of the matter revealed in relation to the plea bargaining agreement pending for approval before this Honorable Court"

MENDOZA DISAPPOINTED WITH COA: Former government auditor Heidi Mendoza was overcome by emotion when she faced a Senate hearing on the Garcia plea bargain deal on Thursday...She later changed her mind when she learned about a Commission on Audit (COA) statement against her. "It was inferred that the commission on audit rejected her report. This is misleading because Ms. Mendoza and the rest of the COA team [were] assigned to work on an inter-agency investigation," the COA said in a statement. "We regret that Ms. Mendoza felt the commission did not give her support," the COA said, denying that it ignored her audit report on former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia. The agency added it was not remiss in supporting its auditors. Mendoza, however, said did not receive support from the agency...COA, on the other hand, maintained that its auditors are honest and have integrity. "We take exception to the doubts raised by Ms. mendoza on the honesty of her fellow auditors and the credibility of other COA officials. The necessary evidence could not have been unearthed from the mountain of documents by a single individual," said COA public information office director Roland Macale. Retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, meanwhile, backed Mendoza's earlier claim that some COA auditors receive pay-offs to help cover up anomalous transactions of military officials. "Resident auditor gets 2%. Accountant gets 1% from a total conversion rate 10%," he told the Senate hearing.

ROMULO: DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ORDERS PROBE INTO MISSING UN REIMBURSEMENTS: The Department of Foreign Affairs has ordered the Philippine mission to the United Nations to verify allegations that millions of pesos in reimbursements paid by the UN for Filipino peacekeeping forces abroad in the early 2000s are missing. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo said he instructed the Philippine Permanent Mission to the UN to check with concerned UN offices "if there were such funds issued representing reimbursements for peacekeeping equipment brought by our people to UN peacekeeping missions."

HEIDI MENDOZA'S DREAM NOW NIGHTMARE FOR GENERALS: In a dream six years ago, a black-clothed Virgin Mary gave Heidi Mendoza a pair of earrings at a procession. She must have been given a heavy responsibility, Mendoza thought, and so she carried on with her career as a state auditor.

MENDOZA TO SUPPORTERS: I'LL APPEAR AT PROBE FOR YOU >>> In gratitude to the thousands of Filipinos who have supported her, whistle-blower Heidi Mendoza has changed her mind about not appearing again at the congressional inquiry into the plea bargain agreement between the Ombudsman's office and plunder suspect and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia. Shortly before midnight of Friday, Mendoza went public through the Facebook page "We Support You, Heidi Mendoza!," saying she would testify anew at the scheduled Tuesday hearing of the House of Representatives to signify that she was not backing out of her crusade against corruption.

TOP COP IN CARNAP NAMED: A ranking official of the Philippine National Police is being linked to the Dominguez car theft syndicate in a confidential report by an intelligence unit based in Camp Aguinaldo.

ARMED FORCES FAVORS PRIVATE AUDITING OF FUNDS: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed Saturday the proposal of leaders in the House of Representatives to hire civil service personnel to supervise the quality of financial reporting and accounting in light of allegations of irregular and illegal handling of funds in the military. Admitting to a poor budget management scheme in the military, Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, AFP spokesman, urged the lawmakers in the Lower Congress and Senate to come up with recommendation or pieces of legislation that would address better management and fiscal system in the soldiery.

4 SENATORS: REYES CAN'T STOP PROBE: Four senators are set to deny on Monday the motion of former Defense chief Angelo Reyes for them not to attend the Senate inquiry on allegations of corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In a strongly worded manifestation sent to reporters on Saturday, Senators they denied Reyes's motion to inhibit, which they described as "unlawful" and a "foolish attempt" to restrict the Senate's power to conduct inquiries. "The motion is unlawful, because it is not allowed under the Senate Rules of Procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation," the senators stated, citing Reyess lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan's "gross ignorance of the law." They said the motion violates the Constitution, which grants the Senate the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

SENATOR: CREATE NEW ANTI-GRAFT COUNCIL WITH MENDOZA & LOZADA AS MEMBERS >>> Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged President Aquino to create an anti-graft commission that will go after grafters in government and also investigate corruption cases during the past administration. In lieu of the Truth Commission, Cayetano said a new anti-graft and corruption council could help the Aquino administration pick up after the bungled investigations on several scandals that rocked the previous administration. Cayetano said Aquino should take the cue from the testimonies of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza, retired military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa and Air Force Col. Antonio Ramon Lim. Cayetano recommended Mendoza and Rodolfo Lozada Jr., the whistleblower in the NBN-ZTE deal, as members of the anti-graft commission. "They will be able to help you (Aquino) scrutinize corruption in the government," Cayetano said. Cayetano said Mendoza already felt helpless and betrayed in her struggle to expose corruption in the military. "She felt alone, she felt that she was not being supported and that her findings have fallen on deaf ears," Cayetano noted. Cayetano expressed belief that Mendoza will still cooperate in the Senate inquiry even after her emotional outburst the other day.

HOW TO SUPPORT CORRUPTION >>> Never speak of it
Don't listen to anything about it Ignore it

"PROBE SHOULD FOCUS ON GARCIA, NOT REYES": A retired commodore and former Reformed the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) leader has denounced what he claimed was an attempt to turn the congressional hearings of the Garcia plea bargain agreement into a "witch-hunt" of former Armed Forces top brass.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG?: The National Democratic Front said Friday it felt sorry for ordinary foot soldiers because they were the direct victims of corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the alleged misuse of funds for "pabaon" and "pasalubong" (going-away and welcome presents) for generals. George Madlos, NDF spokesperson for Mindanao, said in an emailed statement that the exposé made by former military budget officer George Rabusa and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza was just the tip of the problem in the hierarchy of the AFP

PALACE DEFENDS CALL FOR SOLDIERS TO RAT ON CORRUPT OFFICERS: Malacañang defended its call for soldiers to expose the corruption of their officers, saying it wont undermine the chain of command. Communications and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang said a grievance system was already in place in the Armed Forces that would address allegations of graft. "This process has long been in place and if it did not undermine the hierarchy in the last five years. I don't see why it would undermine the hierarchy today"

MENDOZA FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION CZAR?: Senate Minority Leader Alan Cayetano on Friday proposed that the government name Heidi Mendoza its anti-corruption czar. Cayetano said Mendoza, a former state auditor specializing in fraud investigation, would be effective in the job. "She has the training, she has the integrity, she has the people's support," Cayetano told reporters. He also suggested the creation of a good governance council or commission on anti-graft and corruption. The senator also reiterated his call for the Senate to have its own witness protection program to better protect whistleblowers like Mendoza and former military budget officer George Rabusa, who both testified in Congress on corruption in the Armed Forces. Meantime, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Palace is welcomes the expertise of Mendoza in the field of forensic auditing in its fight against graft and corruption.

Tax Revenues from Small Businesses Shoot Up After Citizen Action against Graft: Tax revenue from small second hand clothes businesses at a Trade Fair here is set to increase by more than 700 percent after the city government instituted major reforms in their tax collection. The tax reforms were implemented after a public expose on irregular collection activities resulted to the filing of graft cases against two employees of the city government.

New Citizen's Anti-Corruption Group in Samar Shows It Means Business: Showing it is pro-governance but not anti-government, a newly formed citizens action group against corruption in Samar has begun working with key government agencies in a bid to improve local transparency and accountability.

US EMBASSY: NO COMMENT, AUDITS CONDUCTED >>> The US Embassy in Manila has decided not to comment directly on the ongoing exposés surrounding the malversation of funds by top officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Statements from retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, former AFP budget officer, and those of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza also point to funds from the United Nations as among those missing from AFP coffers. Rabusa had also mentioned that funds allotted for the annual joint Philippine-US Balikatan military exercises as part of the sources of "pabaon" to high-level AFP officials. When asked if the United States is also now concerned as to the safety of their own funding, the embassy replied in a text statement: "The United States Government conducts auditing and end-use monitoring to ensure foreign assistance grants are used properly."

TOP EXECS "WERE WAITING FOR NBN-ZTE COMMISSIONS": A son of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. has testified that former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos pressed officials of Chinese firm Zhing Xing Telecommunications Equipment Inc. (ZTE) to advance commissions on the proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) project during a meeting in Shenzhen, China on December 27, 2006. Businessman Jose "Joey" de Venecia III was presented by the prosecution in the graft trial of former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) chief Romulo Neri in relation to allegations that the latter had unlawful monetary interest on the scrapped US$329-million NBN project. Under direct examination by Prosecutor Omar Sagadal, De Venecia said Abalos told ZTE executives that "the President, the Speaker, and a political party were waiting for this commission."

CREATIVE MILITARY CORRUPTION BARED: Rabusa identified mechanisms within the AFP, which allowed the budget group to supposedly "convert" cash and raise the PCDA fund. Each time, a unit or office that became party to conversion allegedly got a percentage in commission. He said a "James Bond 007" conversion style involved the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which supposedly got 10 percent of the amount converted. Of the 10-percent commission, 1 percent went to the accounting officer and 2 percent to the resident auditor, according to the whistle-blower.

MILITARY REASSURES BUSINESSMEN: The military assured businessmen yesterday that checks and balances have been put in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of finances of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said they are ready to hold a dialogue with business groups to discuss allegations of corruption involving retired military officers and the reforms implemented to improve the management of the military's finances. "The AFP would like to give its assurance to the members of the business sector that this alleged misuse of funds in the military... which transpired many years back is not something to be worried about," he said.

GARCIA PLUNDER CASE NOT LOST: The 303-million-peso (US$6.9-million) plunder case against former Philippine military comptroller Carlos Garcia is not dead, a Sandiganbayan (special court) insider said. There are ways to revive the case despite Garcia's guilty plea to the lesser offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering under a plea bargain, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a gag order from higher-ups. One way is for the prosecutors to ask the court to invalidate the plea bargain so that Garcia's guilty plea to the lesser offenses will be nullified and his bail revoked, the source said.

OMB TO WITHDRAW PLEA DEAL: Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez announced Thursday that her office, upon the prodding and recommendation of the Senate during its hearing, will file with the Sandiganbayan a manifestation to withdraw its proposed plea bargaining agreement (PBA) with beleaguered retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who is facing a P300-million plunder case. Gutierrez disclosed this after senators...pressed her to change her intransigent position that the PBA had to be forged because the government's case against Garcia was weak.

GARCIAS WITHDREW P128m IN FOUR DAYS: An official of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (Amlac) told Senate on Thursday that ex-military comptroller Carlos Garcia and his family withdrew P128 million from their bank accounts in a span of four days before the Court of Appeals issued a freeze order in 2004.

WANTED: A HEIDI MENDOZA FOR CUSTOMS >>> The Bureau of Customs, a notorious "flagship of corruption," has suggested that former state auditor Heidi Mendoza join the agency should she decide to return to government service. Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez on Thursday said the mettle and honesty that Mendoza showed when she disclosed irregularities in the military would greatly help him in weeding out erring customs officials.

MORE BOMBSHELLS OF MILITARY CORRUPTION BARED: Diversions of soldiers' salaries and United Nations funds, multi-million cash gifts to military chiefs of staffs, and illegal military contracts were just some of the bombshells revealed during Thursday's resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on military corruption.


AQUINO "OPEN" TO USE EX-AUDITOR MENDOZA IN ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT: President Benigno Aquino III is open to offering former state auditor Heidi Mendoza a job related to his administration's fight against corruption, but he will seek her consent first. "I would ask her. I would rather not force somebody," the President said on Thursday when asked if he would give Mendoza a job dealing with the government's fight against corruption. Mr. Aquino said he was quite aware that Mendoza, who testified in the plunder case against the former military comptroller, retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, had acknowledged "the stress that she and her family have undergone" as a result of her testimony.

CORROBORATING WITNESS: Col. Antonio Ramon "Sonny" Lim, who corroborated allegations of corruption in the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is an officer of "good standing", a Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesman said Thursday...In his testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Lim said he helped Rabusa prepare the cash disbursements for military chiefs from the so-called Provision Command-Directed Activity (PCDA) slush fund. The Air Force officer also corroborated Rabusa's testimony that the latter kept 4 big vaults full of cash in his office...He said the security of his family as well as his remaining 9 years in the Air Force kept him from coming out earlier.

EX-AUDITOR BEGS OFF FURTHER PARTICIPATION: An emotional Heidi Mendoza on Thursday appealed to the Senate blue ribbon committee to "spare" her from participating in any more inquiries regarding the alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). "I am appealing to this committee to spare me from causing additional harm to people who I worked with and to people who stood with me all the way...Mendoza made the appeal after she was reportedly accused of smearing the reputation of the Commission on Audit. But she explained that that was never her intention and that she had dedicated a large part of her life to the COA. "I was your auditor and I am an auditor until now," she said. She likewise said that she "salutes" the men and women of COA, who stood for a cause despite "pressures." "I am not destroying the institution. I want reforms within the system. I want a clean government," she said.

WHY HEIDI MENDOZA CAME OUT WITH ALL GUNS BLAZING: Talk that she would be blamed for a weak plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia prompted former state auditor Heidi Mendoza to speak out against the prosecutors' decision to enter into a plea bargain deal with the retired major general.

PRESIDENT AQUINO: "I've finally reached my saturation point - like shocked - it's as if it's hard for me now to get shocked"

PRESIDENT AQUINO LOOKING FOR ARMED FORCES CHIEF WHO CAN STOP CORRUPTION: What type of person is President Benigno Simeon Aquino III looking for to be the next Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff? >>> Someone who has a concrete plan on how to stop corruption in the military. Aquino begun interviewing candidates for the post since Monday last week. He is now half way through the list of 10 potential AFP heads. "I was interviewing potential...candidates for chief of staff, one of the questions was how do you address (corruption in the military). Maraming mga suggestions, amongst them values formation," he said.

WEB OF CORRUPTION: Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez promised lawmakers in the House of Representatives that her office will review the P303-million plunder case against former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller ex-Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia following more allegations on the web of corruption in the military.

PLEA DEAL CALLED "INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION": The House Justice Committee is studying the possibility of recommending sanctions against special prosecutors who struck a plea bargain agreement with former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia...following the explosive testimony of Commission on Audit auditor Heidi Mendoza...House Justice Committee Chairman Neil Tupas said they are mulling filing charges against state prosecutors before the Office of the President. "There might be a possibility that a Committee on Justice will file cases before the Office of the President. It might be possible because of the gravity, and we saw institutional corruption," he said. Citing the evidence and Mendoza's statement, Tupas said prosecutors should have had a strong case against Garcia and the Sandiganbayan, enough basis to junk the deal.

OMBUDSMAN AFFIRMS SUSPENSION OF "EURO-GENERALS": Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez affirmed her decision to place under six-month preventive suspension the six police officials who were implicated in the so-called "Euro generals" scandal. In her order issued yesterday, Gutierrez junked the appeal of the police officers linked to retired police comptroller Director Eliseo de la Paz and his wife who were caught carrying 105,000 euros or P6.9 million at a Moscow airport in Russia in 2008...The six officials are being investigated for their involvement in the anomalous trip of De la Paz and several other senior police officials to Russia in October 2008 for the 77th International Police (Interpol) General Assembly held at St. Petersburg in Russia. They are facing administrative charges for grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and criminal charges of graft and falsification along with higher ranking police officials led by De la Paz. De la Paz and his wife Marie Fe were held at Moscow airport last Oct. 11, 2008, for carrying undeclared cash amounting to 105,000 euros when they attended the Interpol conference.

UNITED NATIONS CHECK FOR US$5m MISSING: Some P270 million of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) funds representing reimbursements from the United Nations are missing, a former government auditor told the House justice committee yesterday. Heidi Mendoza, who headed a team that conducted a financial audit of the AFP in 2004, said she was informed that in February 2001, a military officer "personally picked up" a $5-million check (P220 million based on the current exchange rate) from the UN headquarters in New York City. Mendoza said the check was "reimbursement for equipment" used by Filipino troops sent abroad for UN peacekeeping missions. "The check never entered the books of accounts of the AFP," she said.

SOLDIERS DISMAYED BY PAYOLA FOR GENERALS: Anger and frustration grip low-level officers and soldiers in Mindanao, where a Moro secessionist war and communist insurgency fester, in the wake of reports that top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines pocketed huge sums from the military budget at their expense. Active and retired generals themselves are alarmed at how an exposé about a huge slush fund for chiefs of staff and other top military officials has damaged not only the reputation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines but also that of its officers and soldiers.

COMMISSIONERS ON AUDIT TERMS ENDING: Unless President P-Noy steps in and exercises his presidential power of appointment, the clouds gathering over the Commission on Audit (COA) may break into a storm which could prevent it from performing its constitutional duty - temporarily at least. If this happens, the three-man collegial body of the COA known as the Commission Proper (CP) which is the highest audit appeals and policy-making organ of the Philippines' supreme audit institution will grind to a halt. It is a real possibility given that two out of the three Commissioner seats fall vacant this week.

SUPPORT FOR EX-AUDITOR SNOWBALLS: Like a bright lamp, former state auditor Heidi Mendoza Tuesday shone light on a trail of corruption in the military her superiors and the military brass would rather leave in the dark, drawing praise from a public hungry for honest people in government. Support for Mendoza came pouring in from netizens, the clergy, legislators, the President and the justice secretary, among other people. "You have raised us a notch higher as Filipinos," said Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, summing up the public's feeling after Mendoza disclosed her fears for her life and the security of her children with her testimony.

EX-COA AUDITOR BARES P200m GARCIA CHECK: Former auditor Haydee Mendoza on Tuesday told the House of Representatives that she found a voucher for a P200 million check signed by former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, but that P50 million "send-off" money could not be found. The P200 million was a Land Bank check that was encashed in Novemeber 2002 in the UCPB Alfaro branch in Makati City.

TESTIMONY: COA CHIEFS INVOLVED IN COVER UP >>> A former employee of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Tuesday accused her former boss of being involved in shenanigans while she was conducting an audit of Armed Forces transactions under military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia. Speaking before the House justice panel, former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza said she was told by then COA Chairman Guillermo Carague in 2005 not to write a report on her findings about Garcia's transactions since the Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo had already resigned...(and)...even offered her a job posting in the US if she dropped her investigation.

NO MONKEY BUSINESS: Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez stands by her prosecutor's findings on the need to enter into a plea deal with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, insisting that there was not enough evidence to pin him down for charges of plunder. Speaking for the first time in public over the controversial plea bargaining agreement, Gutierrez was adamant that the plea bargain signed on February 25, 2010 was warranted for the sake of the interest of the nation. She insisted that there was no monkey business involved, even saying at some point that "we can tell you and even swear to God na kapag may kumita, tamaan na sana ng kidlat at mamatay."

EX-CHIEF OF STAFF CONFIRMS PAYOLA >>> Says even wives, kids enjoy perks too >>> A chief of staff of the Armed Forces under then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has confirmed the existence of a multimillion-peso payola pot at the Camp Aguinaldo general headquarters, as earlier revealed by ex-military budget officer George Rabusa. But the retired general said the pot, along with other fund sources in and out of the AFP, provided the military brass sufficient sums for their retirement so that, contrary to what Rabusa had claimed, an outgoing chief of staff did not need a hefty sendoff gift (pabaon). "I realized we had so much money in the military...The leeway given to us [in using funds] was more than enough to make us comfortable in retirement."

WAIT YOUR TURN: The mafia calls it "omerta," an extreme form of loyalty that requires silence even in the face of humiliation or death. In the Armed Forces, the culture of silence and solidarity is expressed in four words: "Wait for your turn."

WHO GOT THE P164m? Lt. Col. George Rabusa... claimed Reyes gave him $20,000 out of about $1 million given as pabaon or sendoff when Reyes retired as Armed Forces chief. Rabusa, the former military budget officer who spilled the beans on a "tradition" in the Armed Forces of gifting its chiefs with huge sums of money, also said he withdrew P164 million from a private bank supposedly for former chief of staff Diomedio Villanueva. Rabusa told The STAR yesterday he withdrew the amount in tranches from a Security Bank branch upon instructions from then military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia. Rabusa said Garcia instructed him to withdraw the money in batches P10 million at each time to avoid detection by the Anti-Money Laundering Council. "He (Garcia) told me it was General Villanueva," Rabusa said. He said that when he approached Villanueva last year to remind him of the amount and seek financial help, the general appeared dumbfounded. Rabusa said he believed Garcia kept the money.

From The Peninsular (Qatar): ARMED FORCES OF PHILIPPINES BACKS PROBE >>> The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vowed yesterday to cooperate with agencies that would investigate alleged anomalies involving military chiefs of staff, saying revelations of fund misuse within its ranks would pave the way for a stronger anti-corruption policy. AFP spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta Jr admitted that they are facing "challenging times" due to the revelation of retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa that AFP chiefs traditionally receive hefty sums upon assuming office and retirement.

MILITARY WHISTLEBLOWER APOLOGIZES: "To the Filipino people, those who said that I did wrong, please forgive me," retired Colonel George Rabusa told Radyo Inquirer Tuesday when asked what he wanted to say after his expose last week before the Senate that was investigating the plea bargain agreement forged between the government and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

COA INVOLVED IN COVER UP: A former employee of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Tuesday accused her former boss of being involved in shenanigans while she was conducting an audit of Armed Forces transactions under military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia. Speaking before the House justice panel, former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza said she was told by then COA Chairman Guillermo Carague in 2005 not to write a report on her findings about Garcia's transactions since the Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo had already resigned. She said Mendoza even offered her a job posting in the US if she dropped her investigation. "The chairman said: 'Wag ka nang sumulat ng report tutal nag resign na si Ombudsman. Heidi, this is not a COA audit. It is an Ombudsman is alright to pack up your things. I have been hearing good things about you. If you want, you can continue your consultancy or if you want you will be posted in international audit," Mendoza quoted Carague as saying.

NEW Management Association of the Philippines  PRESIDENT JUN PALAFOX INAUGURAL ADDRESS:
MAPping a culture of integrity

..."As members of MAP, we must steadfastly adhere to the highest ethical standards, good governance principles and management excellence, while courageously confronting the growing complexity of managing businesses in an ever challenging environment.

Our core values in the MAP remind us that integrity not only entails honor, transparency and accountability, but also completeness with all the valued components of the main theme taken into consideration to work efficiently as a whole.

This year, we hope to address the challenges of corruption, criminality and climate change.

Corruption, as I learned from the seminary, comes from two Latin words “cor,” which means heart, and “rupture,” which means break. So we seem to live in a country or society with a broken heart.

The competitiveness of our country continues to decline, preventing us from addressing poverty, housing, public health, transportation, traffic, climate change and the environment, among others.

MAP supports the Coalition against Corruption. We also fully support the Integrity Initiative of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), the Makati Business Club (MBC), the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). Three-hundred plus companies have already signed up for a pledge of the Integrity Initiative which aims to promote integrity and accountability in business. MAP members are strongly urged to commit to ethical business practices and good governance. We should be exemplars, not the exempted.

MAP members must lead by example in the fight against corruption by managing their business ethically and with integrity, paying the right taxes, taking care of their stakeholders and the environment, not tolerating bribery, and not just talking about corruption but also reporting and exposing it..."






Senate urged to summon Ex-President for public hearings

Closed-door congressional hearings opposed

Death of ex-Defense chief shocks country

Ambassador Cimatu returns from ME mission; denies involvement in AFP scam

JUSTICE SECRETARY, OMBUDSMAN clash in House probe on plea bargain deal

Escudero says no to closed-door hearings on graft

Reyes "dared to sacrifice for common good", says ex-president Ramos

After hearings into Garcia plea bargain deal, what next?

SENATOR: Reyes' death 'extinguished' his criminal, civil liabilities

Ang-See says Angie Reyes not corrupt

AFP: Reyes' death a big blow to ongoing probe on corruption

Death of a general: Who was Angelo Reyes?

Calls for abolition of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) mount even as it gets ready to celebrate its foundation day...

Reyes' Death Should Spur Deeper Probe Into Systemic Corruption in Military

COA chair denies report about his retirement

CUSTOMS BUREAU'S 109TH ANNIVERSARY: Collection is up. The smugglers are hurting. The good guys are happy while the bad guys are on the run. So far, we have filed cases against 122 importers, brokers, and customs employees, with total value of P50B.

Lawmakers propose detailed audit of intelligence funds

1. Are the eyewitness accounts of retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa and his former assistant, Col. Antonio Ramon Lim, plus the findings of erstwhile state auditor Heidi Mendoza, not evidence enough to warrant the nullification of the plea bargaining agreement? --- 2. Are the obvious dereliction of duty, obstruction of justice and betrayal of public trust by the Ombudsman and the special prosecutors not ground enough to warrant their removal from office through impeachment or whatever? RAMON MAYUGA in letter to Philippine Inquirer

Ombudsman dismisses police officer for allowing former vice mayor to take Civil Service Commission examination in his place...

The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association (PMAAA) said it had not expelled retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia despite his conviction in 2005 by a court-martial because then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not uphold the ruling.

UN funds misuse shocks soldiers who went to East Timor

Former military budget officer George Rabusa alleged...that more than one COA auditor received payoffs from the AFP as part of efforts to cover up massive corruption in the military.

Department of Labor and Employment forms body vs corruption

Military hopes allegations of corruption within its ranks would pave way for new laws to enhance transparency and flexibility in use of funds.

Palace to troops: Be vigilant, report corruption

Mendoza: I entered a plea bargain with the Lord

Metro Manila Development Authority employee sacked for taking bribe money

Customs agent suspended for amassing wealth

Garcia returns to prison if plea-bargain is rejected

The government said that it will study the proposal of Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano to form an anti-graft body instead of pursuing the creation of the Truth Commission.

Ombudsman orders dismissal of two police officers for separate cases of sexual harassment and grave threat.

Defense department starts probe of military fund mess

Law to protect whistleblowers among Aquino priority bills

Auditor steals show in House hearing on military corruption

We, the members of the Philippine Association of Retired Persons (PARP), which has fought and are still fighting tooth and nail against corruption in the country's pension system are proud of Ms Mendoza, and we salute her for her bravery and civic-mindedness in the face of overwhelming odds.

Sandiganbayan dismisseS 17 year old anti-graft case against former Mandaue City mayor for allegedly overpriced purchase of parcel of land in Barangay Looc.

Ateneo backs whistle-blowers in AFP corruption scandals

Group of Dabawenyos forms anti-corruption organization - initially to look into alleged anomalies in the Bureau of Customs in Davao City

Palace orders centralized purchase of AFP supplies

Six poll officials back at work after serving suspension over folder scam

BANK OFFICIALS involved in the military fund scandal could be removed or disqualified from office, a central bank official said

Military whistle blower retired Colonel George Rabusa seeks immunity from suit

Metro Manila Development Authority sacks employee for accepting bribe money from driver involved in vehicular accident.

Four-man committee formed by Department of National Defense (DND) sets up four subcommittees to look more closely into corruption allegations besetting the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that as far as she knows, her brother - retired General Benjamin Defensor - was not involved in alleged corrupt practices in military when he was chief of the Armed Forces in 2002

Philippines Customs Agency January Collection Of PHP20.2 Billion Exceeds Target by PHP216 million

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima slams Ombudsman for saying in congressional hearing that statement by wife of former military comptroller retired Major General Carlos Garcia not enough evidence to pin Garcia family for alleged pocketing of millions in military funds.

Soldiers demoralized over AFP corruption reports

Soldiers' wives irked over alleged military corruption

Bishops support Heidi Mendoza

Five former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chiefs of staff during the Arroyo administration told the House justice committee that they did not receive any pay-offs...

Department of National Defense announces names of 4 members of special committee to investigate allegations of corrupt practices of Major Gen. Carlos Garcia and other former officers named by former military budget officer George Rabusa.


Supreme Court reverses nine years after anomaly appellate court ruling that stopped penalty from being imposed on then municipal accountant of Carmen...for supposedly participating in "irregular and anomalous transactions" involving the town's trust fund...

House supporters rally to former President Arroyo's defense

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada wants to know more about the civilian who allegedly received P1 million monthly in payola from former military comptroller Carlos Garcia from 2001 to 2003.

Angles City police chief voluntarily gives up post amid probe of four policemen for allegedly extorting P400,000 cash

UN fund misuse issue to be referred to NY headquarters - UN resident coordinator

DoJ places ex-CoA auditor on witness protection program

Malacañang open to lifestyle check on ex-AFP chiefs

Government withholding P8.6 billion in Department of National Defense funds to shield from possible diversion in light of alleged corruption within Armed Forces.

OMBUDSMAN: Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago not liable for calling Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson a "jueteng lord" during a privilege speech last year...Santiago was enjoying parliamentary immunity when she made the remark.

Department of Budget and Management to tighten rules on military procurement

House committee to probe mining royalties

Former President Fidel Ramos Monday said that during his time, the military and police faced so many conflicts that they had no time to fiddle with things like a going-away fund given to commanders.

Amid the new controversy regarding the alleged multimillion "send-off money" for the military chief of staff, Director General Raul Bacalzo, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said there is no "pabaon" in the police organization.

After nearly 20 years Sandiganbayan clears former Leyte town officials of graft charges

Ombudsman suspends DepEd officials in P427-M noodle scam

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Angelo Reyes filed graft charges against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and retired AFP budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa for reportedly damaging his reputation with "false and defamatory accusations."

Customs man clears air,explains "misleading reports as black propaganda concocted by some quarters"



SYSTEM ON TRIAL (Philippine Inquirer Editorial): Retired Commodore and former Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) leader Rex Robles has denounced alleged attempts by lawmakers conducting hearings on the plea-bargain controversy to divert the matter into a "witch-hunt" of the former AFP top brass...Perhaps Robles should realize that what's on trial is the AFP system itself, and by extension, the entire government which allows such a system to operate despite supposed checks and balances being provided by constitutional bodies such as the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit. That Garcia and his family were able to amass the kind of wealth they have been accused of stealing and Ligot's wife could buy two houses in the US strongly suggest a cozy relationship between the military and civil elites and other sectors "from very high places." It is this conspiracy among military and civilian officials that has corrupted the AFP logistics system, bankrupted the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System, facilitated the sale of ammunition to insurgents and other enemies of the state, triggered the putsches in the last several years, helped contribute to the resilience of various insurgencies, and perpetuated our sorry defense system and messy public safety and order.

...the on-going probe on the corruption within the Armed Forces of the Philippines and allegations of impropriety among COA auditors goes far beyond Generals and accountants. What should be, and really is on trial today is our ENTIRE Justice System. Every lawyer who has bent the rules, told a white lie, every prosecutor who did not do his work well or allowed his bias to take over, every judge, justice and officer of the Courts, the Office of the Ombudsman as well as the branches of the Department of Justice is on trial. While everyone talks about the controversial plea bargain with Major General Carlos Garcia, the underlying truth that many lawmakers and lawyers have casually revealed is that out ENTIRE Justice System is corrupted. Sadly, the corruption has invaded the very core of our value system. -- Cito Beltran in The Philippine Star

Once more we are shown the perils of power. Indeed, one could spend one's life seeking honor and accomplishments, gaining more and more power and with it wealth and comfort, only to lose it all in one fell swoop. What are all the millions in your bank account, the houses abroad, the comfortable retirement, if in the end you lose your good name, your reputation, your integrity brought into question and your name forever linked to scandal? -- Rina Jimenez-David in Philippine Daily Inquirer

...gross dishonesty is a grave offence against God and society. And an untruthful person, who keeps on looking behind for fear of being caught, has to face a corresponding punishment if not in this life, then in the next. God's words put it thus: "Better a poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked in his ways and rich." (Proverbs 28:6)...One way of avoiding shame, scandal, and punishment is to cherish integrity more than tainted money. Integrity involves having a personal standard of morality and ethics that does not sell out to expediency and that is not relative to the changing situation around oneself. Integrity is an inner standard for judging your behavior. Unfortunately, integrity is in short supply nowadays. -- FR. BELR. SAN LUIS, SVD in Manila Bulletin

If the senators and congressmen want to know the other military and police generals who benefited from the AFP and PNP scams, they should go to the Armed Forces Officers Village in Fort Bonifacio. The fruits of the corruption of these generals are the big mansions in the village. One unbelievably huge mansion - which has a high fence and occupies two blocks and reportedly cost not less than P300 million - at the AFP Officers Village is not owned by a general but by a customs official. The corrupt customs official is untouchable because he hides under the cloak of "religious immunity." -- Ramon Tulfo in Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Corruption has a way of destroying the names, careers and reputations not only of the corrupt and the 'corruptee' but also those of the innocent and well-meaning... corruption also exacts a high human cost in terms of the misery and suffering it causes individuals, families and institutions, and in terms of lives that are destroyed and lives that are silenced forever." -- Retired military chief of staff, Narciso Abaya in a speech on Oct. 26, 2004 quoted by Ana Marie Pamintuan in The Philippine Star

...look at the two aging generals up front. They try to put up a refined front, yet only manage to look pathetic. Both indicted at the Sandiganbayan, one had been jailed for six years while the other never. In tandem they are now undergoing the worst punishment society can mete: not prison but public scorn. Watch the crowd react: whenever the first prefaces his answers to lawmakers' queries with, "With due respect," the audience pre-empts him with the line, "I cannot answer due to self-incrimination." Whenever the second opens his replies with "Im sorry, Your Honors," the anticipants snicker, "But I cannot recall." Surely the two have been told about what people derisively say about them in texts and blogs, coffee klatches and family dinners. Unlike the colonels who have redeemed family honor by telling the truth, albeit late, the two have to bear it for whatever reason...Perhaps they need to rethink their options - before it's too late. There is no repentance in the grave. -- Jarius Bondoc in The Philippine Star

The Troubled Times of Angie Reyes -Newsbreak

CITIZEN RESPONSES TO: What are your thoughts on the Senate investigation on corruption in the military?

Ordinary Filipinos were interviewed about allegations of massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. I was taken aback when I heard the unanimous opinion that nothing will ever come out of these probes...But I am an incurable optimist. In the end, I do not share the opinion of many that nothing will come out of these investigations. I believe that justice will prevail. I am hopeful because Filipinos continue to believe that their lives will improve under the Aquino administration. This is why I believe that President Noynoy Aquino must seize the golden opportunity to show us that he can effect the change he has promised. -- Emil Jurado in Manila Standard

WHO REALLY TARNISHED COA?: The Commission on Audit twice was in the news Thursday, both to do with military comptroller Gen. Carlos Garcia's plundering. At the Senate whistleblower Col. George Rabusa talked about COA auditors assigned to the Armed Forces GHQ in 2000-2002. Allegedly the resident auditors received from Garcia two percent of the loot stolen by thieving generals. Meanwhile, the COA head office assailed the very examiner, Heidi Mendoza, who had found the resident auditors work wanting. Supposedly she "put the agency in a bad light" in decrying COA officials' faint support for her 2004-2006 review of Garcia's shenanigans...The COA apparently disliked Mendoza's disclosures...For one, she said could trust only some of the nine auditors detailed to her 2004-2006 audit team. That was why the work took so long. Too, they had to rummage through the mishmash of papers in dozens of dusty crates at the hot GHQ warehouse. All that time, an official who oversaw military audits kept taunting her that she'd find no documents fraudulently signed by Garcia. Worst, the then-COA chief Guillermo Carague was unhelpful. Mendoza already was under pressure by superiors' murmurs about Malacañang calls to go slow on her audit. Still Carague belittled her persistence. This, although she had unearthed Garcia's P200-million malversation of United Nations reimbursements. Carague disallowed Mendoza from pursuing the examination in the UN headquarters in New York...Instead, Carague advised Mendoza to drop the audit and just name the position to which she wished promotion. She resigned in disgust...the Ombudsman itself oddly had strived to debunk her testimony via five witnesses who used to work for Garcia. Also, because Carague disowned Mendoza's audit report before the Sandigan. Instead of taking criticism as part of self-improvement, the COA chose to attack the critic. The office implied that Mendoza tainted it with her doubts about coworkers' honesty and superiors' credibility. The message is for critics to shut up. But is it really Mendoza who's giving the COA bad name?...Auditors have been linked to fund scams in various government agencies. In the AFP one auditor has avoided rotation for 14 long years, allegedly on the say-so of five superiors. Are they not the ones staining the COA's image? How come the agency has said nothing about such irregularity? Is it because the beneficiaries of sleaze lead it? -- Jarius Bondoc in The Philippine Star

AUDITING THE AUDITORS (The Philippine Star Editorial): What happens when the agency tasked to ensure the judicious utilization of public funds by government agencies fails to fulfill its mandate? The consequences are similar to what the nation suffers when the Office of the Ombudsman itself becomes corrupted or fails in other ways in carrying out its job.

"...Rabusa, a retired colonel, and Lim, a colonel in active military service, said under oath last week...they resolved to tell the truth about the corruption in the military they were once a part of because Noynoy Aquino was elected president last May...Both Rabusa and Lim made their statements before the Senate blue ribbon committee. I have seen very few references to this remarkable claim, but I think it places Mr. Aquino's daang matuwid in the right perspective. Rabusa and Lim reached their decision individually; they managed the burden of their conscience in their own way. But they both realized, a few months after Mr. Aquino took office last year, that the right time for speaking out had single formerly corrupt military officer, like Rabusa, can make an essential difference. By doing the right thing, by telling us all he knows of the rot he was once a part of, he can already begin the exposure and exorcism necessary to rid parts of a massive organization of its debilitating rot.

CRYING MEN: "...retired Col. George Rabusa and Lt. Col. Antonio Lim, his former assistant at the budget department of the AFP general headquarters, were not ashamed to shed tears at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing...crying is often the result of feelings of sadness and frustration. In the cases of Mendoza, Rabusa and Lim, crying released their tension and feelings of fear and frustration. In the case of Rabusa and Lim, their shedding of tears and hugging at the end of their testimony served to strengthen the bond between them. But really, the revelations coming out of the Senate inquiry are enough to make grown men cry - no, not just grown men, but an entire nation, cry."

The Makati Business Club commends former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza and retired AFP budget officer Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa for their courageous testimonies about the past systematic misappropriation of AFP funds perpetrated it appears by several high-ranking military officials, particularly it seems by former military comptroller General Carlos Garcia. Their decision to testify at the Senate and House hearings comes at clear personal cost, and yet they chose to uphold the public interest and fight for the truth. Ms. Mendoza, in particular, deserves our admiration for her outstanding dedication as a public servant and her commitment to the ethical standards of her profession. Let us not allow their sacrifices to go in vain.

"Ombudsman investigations are always aimed at presenting a strong case so our inquiries are always in-depth," says Assixtant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus. "Although the standard of proof in fact-finding is only probable cause, the FIO (Field Investigation Office) investigators always aim at proof beyond reasonable doubt, or, in an administrative case, preponderance or substantial evidence. The reason behind this is to increase the chances of conviction of an offender."

PCIJ Part 1: " abundance of cash from foreign donors and the national budget have been the exceptional privilege of the Office of the Ombudsman since Gutierrez assumed her position on December 1, 2005. Thus, in the last five years Gutierrez has not been lacking in funds, and has enjoyed access to more money than any of her three predecessors combined, and could afford to hire more than double the number of personnel. The Ombudsman's budget tripled from P392.08 million in 2003 to P1.33 billion in 2009 during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo...In five years under Gutierrez, the Office's budget grew by an annual average of 21.35 percent, or twice more than the usually allowed increase in the budgets of most other government agencies. On top of this, the Office has also received not less than $7.2 million or P316 million in four different foreign grants, including funds committed to her predecessor, Simeon V. Marcelo, between 2005 and 2009."

PCIJ Part 2: WHO has been jailed for corruption in this country? In its search for answers, the Philippine Threshold Program launched a study on "Time Served for Corruption" covering 118 cases from 2001 to 2008 of public officials who had been prosecuted by the Ombudsman, convicted by the Sandiganbayan, and sent to jail after the Supreme Court upheld their convictions. Over three-fourths or 93 of the cases were in different stages of execution proceedings. The small balance of 25 individuals had been served court orders committing them to prison, but nearly half or 11 had been pardoned by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In short, less than one in every 10 persons convicted of corruption since 2001 has actually been jailed. Worse, of the 14 persons with court-issued jail sentences, only seven are actually serving time. And worst of all, of the seven in jail, only one person has completed his/her prison sentence.

PCIJ Part 3: Current chief graftbuster Merceditas N. Gutierrez has turned out to be...a "tri-media personality," running a personal column in a business daily, even as she co-hosted a radio show and a TV program on state-run media.

PCIJ Part 4: 4 Ombudsmen, 4 failed crusades vs corruption >>> All four chiefs of the Office...had launched their stints as the nation's top graft-busters with firm, elaborate, hopeful reforms to fight corruption. When the criticisms trickled in invariably over low conviction rates, perceived partiality toward the presidents who appointed them, and sheer failure to cope with tremendous case loads and hail crooks to jail - all four trudged on. What they ended serving up, though, were not more and better results, but more excuses...

PCIJ Special: WHEN IT comes to hailing to jail alleged crooks in the military and police, the Ombudsman practically accords star-rank officers a mere slap on the wrist. Only 19 generals of the Armed Forces have actually been prosecuted for alleged corruption in the 22-year history of the Office of the Ombudsman. Of the 19, one and only one, Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, was convicted, after pleading guilty to a lesser offense of bribery, and after securing a plea-bargain agreement to evade prosecution for plunder. Apart from the star-rank officers, however, a big majority or eight in every 10 respondents from the Armed Forces in the cases filed by the Ombudsman since 1988 have been men of lower rank, notably sergeants and lieutenants, and a spattering of colonels.

PCIJ SPECIAL: COA quizzes Ombudsman

What will happen to "whistleblowers" former Armed Forces Budget Officer George Rabusa, his deputy Antonio Ramon Lim, and auditor Heidi Mendoza, who had practically wagered her life, family and career the moment she decided to testify against the godfathers of the military underworld? We have seen it all before and pray it does not happen again: Marilyn Garcia Esperat was gunned down in 2004 after exposing graft in the Agriculture Department's local office in her hometown in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat. Musa Dimasidsing, a school teacher, was shot dead after testifying on the irregularities during 2007 midterm elections. And last year, illegal numbers game whistleblower Wilfredo Mayor was killed in Pasay City just as he was - according to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz - days from exposing another pork barrel scam. What will come next when the media frenzy and public attention have all fizzled out?

HOW ABOUT AN APOLOGY FIRST, COLONEL?: I'm willing to grant that Rabusa is singing because of a real change of heart. We've all been here before: a personal crisis brings out the best in us. A sinner that turns around is a feel-good story that taps into the big heartedness of Filipinos. I was hoping though that he'd say sorry first - before anything else. I did not see signs of mea culpa in his Senate testimony. Instead, he told us that he and General Garcia were mere pawns in this sordid affair. That they were merely following orders.

Were eager to find out how P10 million per transaction could be done with banks, over several months, without the anti-money laundering police being alerted. The reporting threshold for suspicious transactions is only P500,000...

The basic facts are confounding. According to the Sandiganbayan itself, the plea bargain remains pending. That is to say, the anti-graft court has not yet ruled either way, whether to approve it or to disapprove it. But according to several lawyer-senators, the fact that Garcia was granted bail can only mean that the plea bargain had already been given due course.

Now the disclosure of Rabusa, supported yesterday by Philippine Air Force Col. Antonio Ramon Lim, shows how the lack of transparency and accountability in the utilization of foreign aid can be exploited by the corrupt. Even the international donor community would want the Philippines to implement measures that will guarantee transparency and public accountability in the utilization of foreign assistance. Those measures must be among the results of the ongoing congressional investigation into corruption in the Armed Forces.

CONGRESS: "EXPLAIN STONEWALLING": More and more VIPs are being linked to the pampering of military comptroller-plunderer Gen. Carlos Garcia. First were Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and her special prosecutors, blamed for softening Garcia's capital crime to two lesser offenses. Thursday's Senate testimony of Col. George Rabusa, Armed Forces budget officer, implicated more. Ex-chief of staff Angelo Reyes allegedly took P5-million monthly payola plus P50-million sendoff from Garcia's predecessor Gen. Jacinto Ligot. Succeeding CS Diomedio Villanueva got a P10-million startup and P160-million sendoff, this time from Garcia. Next CS Roy Cimatu too received P10-million startup plus P5 million a month, also from Garcia. In Tuesday's hearing at the House of Reps, state auditor Heidi Mendoza named two more. The first was by implication. Mendoza had recalled Garcias "most notable" irregularity: moving P200 million from the AFPs official depository near GHQ to a private bank across town. Everything happened in one day, Nov. 28, 2002: issuance and clearing of checks, dividing of the P200 million into three accounts, and withdrawal of P50 million in the third. That day happened to be the exit of Benjamin Defensor as CS. So congressmen, riled with too many stories of sendoff gifts, opined that the P50 million must have been for him. Mendoza's second exposé came out of frustration. For it appeared that her ex-boss, Commission on Audit chief Guillermo Carague, actively had blocked her special audit of the AFP in 2004-2006. The transferred P200 million, Mendoza said, were reimbursements from the United Nations for AFP peacekeeping overseas. So this merited going to the source, the UN, to dig up evidence of fraud from the files. More so, since she got word that an AFP officer had picked up an earlier $5-million (P250-million) refund at the Philippines UN mission in New York. But Carague refused to grant her travel orders. US justice department attaché to Manila, Jeff Cole, even posted a strongly worded note about the need to send Mendoza to the UN. Still Carague refused. Pressed by Mendoza, he said the special audit was not a COA project but an Ombudsman probe that she could drop any time. He also asked - by way of bribe? - to what position Mendoza wished to be promoted. Mendoza in disgust resigned from the COA in April. 2006, after 22 years of government service. Still she testified at Garcia's plunder trial in 2007-2008 "out of civic duty." In one hearing Carague sent the court a note disowning Mendoza, in effect debarring her audit report. Congressmen want to know why Carague too got into this mess. -- Jarius Bondoc in The Philippine Star

UN funds meant as reimbursement for Filipino soldiers sent abroad as part of the UN peacekeeping forces...are paid directly to the AFP, instead of remitted to the Treasury. US government reimbursements for expenses incurred in the Balikatan joint military exercises are apparently also remitted in the same way. The availability of such huge unprogrammed funds in any agency is a great temptation for graft. Mendoza showed what happened to one UN check amounting to P200 million, payable to the AFP, as it morphed into smaller accounts in local banks. Part of the money disappeared into the account of an unnamed depositor. None of this is possible without the collusion of the banks. Someone from the participating banks would have to testify to supplement the documentary evidence

My reflections, prayers and actions always lead to one conclusion and solution: "End Corruption = End Violence + Moral Revolution." I believe every peace-loving citizen shares with me this "equation," which is simply just like P-Noy's 2010 campaign slogan: "Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap."

A culture of integrity

A Global View - By Beth Day Romulo, Manila Bulletin, February 2, 2011

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) inaugural meeting on January 25th, held at the Peninsula Hotel in Makati, was devoted to the subject of developing a culture of integrity. Incoming MAP President, Felino “Jun” Palafox, the first architect to head MAP, laid out an ambitious program for the year ahead. Viewing itself as a “Partner to Government,” MAP’s plans focus on addressing the problems of criminality, corruption, and climate change, and the development of a culture of integrity to replace the apathy of the past.

MAP will form a “shadow cabinet” with a committee assigned to each department of government to assess its projects in terms of transparency, accountability, and sensitivity to climate change. Since MAP’s 1,000 members include former Cabinet secretaries and ambassadors, this will provide an informed oversight of government decisions. “We can ask them to come out with an analysis of what could be done better.”

MAP also plans to launch a hotline “Text a Crook” which individual citizens can use to report incidents of corruption. These leads will in turn be forwarded to advocacy groups that will follow up on the complaints...

It was heartening to hear Ms. Mendoza say, "I came to this hearing to tell the Filipino people that not all soldiers or government employees are corrupt! They are merely making an honest day's living." Indeed this is true, which is why corruption shouldn't take root in our government because there are a lot of people who would report these corrupt officials. Alas, the opposite is true. Instead of reporting these corrupt officials, many government employees choose to remain silent for fear of losing their jobs.

CASES MAY TAKE YEARS: ...anti-graft cases may take 10 to 20 years plus to reach final stage - from trial, reconsideration of decision, and appeals. But there were cases of public servants (clerks) getting long jail terms for "taking less than P100,000" in less than five years. If they get 'sick' When culprits have "savings" in millions from their pasalubong, pabaon, and regular monthly take, also in millions, towing them to jail can drag for years caused by the layers of postponement, reconsideration, and appeals to higher courts. And if the moneyed culprit gets sick, his army of doctors will tell the prosecutors and courts that their patient should stay in the hospital for days, weeks, months, or years to make him well...In the 1950s, high officials convicted of murder stayed in Muntinlupa for a while and were eventually transferred to hospital suites. -- ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO in Manila Bulletin

CITIZENS REPLY TO QUESTION: What can you say about alleged massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines?

Whistleblower's motive irrelevant

RESIDENT AUDITORS? come the COA with its practice of having "resident" auditors in every agency -- presumably so that its auditing and monitoring and watchdogging can get all close up and personal -- didn't notice anything for well-nigh 20 years, or at least until a special team was created to investigate? Is it possible that not a whiff of the overpowering stench was smelled by the COA resident auditors? Maybe the auditor and the auditees got too close up and personal for comfort. In any case, it is time for COA to reexamine this practice which makes arms-length dealing between the parties practically impossible.

Can AFP officers corps still clean the service?

How Can Corrupt Officials Sleep Soundly? They Don't

"BRAVE HEART" NO MORE?: there is an organized effort to turn the tables on the Senate investigators. In fact the whole thing is so organized and obviously funded that it is easy to presume that a heavyweight PR practitioner is on the move. But not even the heavy weights of PR could pressure President Noynoy to backpedal on his anti-corruption position. So the question is; has Malacanang been warned of a politically dangerous scenario if the investigations go far and wide? The veteran journalists I asked pointed out that if Senator Estrada and Guingona were left to their own devices, the investigation could easily raise questions about certain ex-generals who now live in exclusive villages...this Senate investigation has the potential of doing more damage to corruption and corrupt officials than 10 truth commissions. The question is; will President Noynoy give his full support to exorcise the AFP even if it means more than just stepping on toes and public humiliation? What happens if the President "discovers" that even people around him or those who supported him also benefitted from past transactions and past sins? -- Cito Beltran in The Philippine Star

REVOLT OF THE TAXPAYERS: If anyone, even a taxpayer would ask for some information from a Congressman, Senator, or Military Official, how public funds have been spent, that individual might find himself shot, ignored, and required to get a court order for such purpose. This is most likely the major cause of the massive and systemic graft and corruption in government. If taxpayers are treated as slaves instead of the bread earners and providers of government, then there is no other recourse but to organize ourselves solidly into a Federation of Taxpayers of the Philippines and demand that the monies we pay to the government in the form of tax or other kinds of financial impositions must be accounted for properly and correctly to the last centavo. And if graft and corruption is really pervasive and rampant, we taxpayers have all the moral right and the legitimacy to declare a moratorium on the payment of taxes until the entire political system is thoroughly cleansed of scalawags, crooks, and thieves of public funds. This is the imminent revolt that the taxpayers will resort to if the graft and corruption remains uncontrollable. -- Clem M. Bascar in Zamboanga Today

CHIVALRY IS DEAD: A bank teller borrowed money from a client. The boss found out about it and told the teller that what he did was against the banks policy and that he shall suffer the disciplinary consequences. The teller said, "I did not know it was wrong" >>> An accountant was siphoning funds in collaboration with her boss. When this anomaly was discovered, the accountant said, "I was just following orders". >>> A man paid someone a huge amount of money to kill his enemy. When the killer was caught, he said, "It's not my fault, I was paid to do it". All of the above are cases of: (1) people not knowing the effect or repercussion of their actions - this is stupidity; (2) people having very low intelligence quotients or IQ this is due to illiteracy or; (3) people simply acting dumb to easily get away with their transgressions this is due to poor moral upbringing and weak personal values in life. Looking at all the news headlines today it seems that many of our people have fallen short of good values, proper education and information. -- Sara Soliven De Guzman in The Philippine Star

CORRUPTION IN THE MILITARY: While corruption in the Armed Forces has been talked about in the past, nobody has detailed how far it goes and who the people involved are. Not until this former budget chief who himself handled billions of pesos in military funds decided to come out...should we also conclude that the same corruption exists in the Philippine National Police? If it does, then indeed national security is at risk. -- Emil Jurado in Manila Standard

LTO BIDS & REWARDS: Land Transportation Office Chief Virginia Torres now has more than she can handle. First it was her controversial appointment given her lack of seniority and experience. Then came the highly embarrassing and controversial Stradcom problem where the LTO boss found herself on national TV accused of taking sides in a corporate dispute and colluding with one faction. Just when things were settling down, accusations started flying that LTO personnel were likely to be involved or working with the Dominguez carnapping syndicate. -- Cito Beltran in the Philippine Star

GENEROUS GIFTS: There's a sendoff or pabaon gift and a welcome gift or pasalubong. Then there's a monthly goodwill gift amounting to a few million pesos. No wonder officers are willing to serve even for only a few months as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines aside from the prestige of having reached the pinnacle of a military career. If a former military budget officer is telling the truth, AFP chiefs rake in millions in public funds money that is meant for one of Asia's most poorly equipped armed forces...there are three overriding concerns. First is the determination of the whole truth about corruption in the military. Second is the punishment of those involved. And third is the implementation of measures to prevent a repeat of the alleged activities. This is a good chance to undertake a thorough housecleaning in the AFP. -- Editorial in The Philippine Star

PROSECUTORS: AFP WITNESSES "CLEARED" GARCIA: A man found guilty of murdering his parents pleads for clemency on grounds that he is now an orphan. - The reasoning of the Ombudsman prosecutors brings to mind that classic tale of chutzpah. They maintain that the Armed Forces of the Philippines was not the offended party in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia's P303-million plunder. So, they were under no obligation to get the AFP's consent when they plea-bargained with Garcia on lesser offenses. Supposedly the military had not shown interest in the plunder case. Proof of this is the testimony of five AFP accountants and bookkeepers that the prosecutors produced in 2008 at the Sandiganbayan. The five, they say, contradicted the findings of their star witness, state auditor Heidi Mendoza, that P50 million of the P200-million UN fund disappeared. -- Jarius Bondoc in the Philippine Star

Business managers  “appalled” by revelations of “massive” corruption in the military
Call on President Aquino to form independent body to investigate allegations

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said the alleged irregularities unmasked by Rabusa and Mendoza threatened to completely erode the confidence of the people in the military.

The public funds that ended up in the pockets of AFP officials and their families could have been used to enhance AFP’s capacity to fight insurgents, fund its modernization program, and improve the conditions of ordinary Filipino soldiers, MAP said.

"We urge other government officials to join Mendoza and Rabusa in bringing to light the anomalous activities in the AFP and in other public offices," MAP said.

"We encourage Congress to immediately enact the Freedom of Information Law which will give access to information heretofore hidden from public scrutiny," it added. 

"We urge the government to provide the necessary protection to truth-tellers like Mendoza and whistle-blowers like Rabusa," MAP pointed out.

"We, in the MAP, can only hope that something good will come out of all of these shocking revelations, something that will assist all of us in 'MAPping a Culture of Integrity.'"



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Ehem -- the anti-corruption initiative of the Philippine Jesuits echoes the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines.
Ehem aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice of corruption in daily life.
Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo --- critical of corruption, intent on integrity!
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