Military officer dismayed by misuse of public funds

From a report by Ces Oreña Drilon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2013 09:49 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2013 05:49 AM

MANILA – Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan, commanding officer of the 1st Marine Brigade, could not hide his disgust over the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.

In his Facebook page shared by many of his friends, Balutan said soldiers' lives would not have been lost had the money been spent on social services.
The lack of such services, he said, was the root cause of Muslim rebellion.

He said social inequity was caused by corrupt officials, who he called the real enemies of the state.

The outspoken officer once appeared in the Senate in 2005 when he was a lieutenant colonel to testify on alleged cheating in the 2004 elections despite being ordered not to talk by his Commander-in-Chief.

Balutan faced court martial proceedings but the case did not prosper.

Prof. Rommel Banlaoi of the National Defense College sympathizes with Balutan even if his public statements may have transgressed military rules.

“Kung walang magrerebelde mafo-focus ang attention ng military sa external sa halip na internal security,” he said.

Banlaoi said P10 billion would have bought the Philippines 20 Hamilton Cutters.

At present, the Philippines is planning to purchase only a third warship to add to its fleet.

“Malaki ang maitutulong niyan to enhance our territorial defense,” said Banlaoi.

Banlaoi said the money could have been used to beef up the country's external defense.

In response to Balutan's outbursts, Malacañang said the Aquino administration has been attending to the needs of soldiers in the battlefield.