MANILA, Philippines - Retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles scored Malacañang for failing to protect the military institution and the late former Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) chief Angelo Reyes from being dragged into the military fund scandal.
At the necrological services for Reyes on Saturday, Robles revealed that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has informed Malacañang that Reyes was not the 'padrino' of former military comptrollers, including Carlos Garcia who has been accused with plundering military coffers.
"Sinabi nya (Trillanes) sa Malacañang yun (that Reyes was not involved)," Robles told the audience.
"Sa Malacañang, andun yung commander-in-chief natin. (Pero) ang commander-in-chief natin, walang kibo. Bakit di nya sabihin sa Senate na, 'Sandali lang, hindi si Reyes yan, mga anak ko ito.' Is the AFP orphan?" Reyes's long-time friend said.
Robles said the feeling of being orphaned hit Reyes hard. "That is what made Angie Reyes feel low. That is one of the reasons why Angie (Reyes) feels parang walang pakialam samantalang alam ng Malacañang kung sino iyon (the padrino of Garcia)."
An upper class cadet of Reyes at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in the 1960's, Robles has been vocal about wanting to help Reyes wiggle out of the controversy that, he thinks, has made a whipping boy out of Reyes to divert attention from the fact that Garcia was able to walk free following a plea bargaining agreement, which allowed him to post bail after six years in detention.
Robles has also been vocal about expressing disgust at Trillanes, a former Navy Lieutenant who was among those who staged the failed 2003 Oakwood mutiny and won a seat in Senate while in jail, and at Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, a retired Navy officer, who had asked the House of Representatives to investigate the plea bargain that the Office of the Ombudsman had entered into with Garcia.
In his previous interviews, Robles said Reyes had sent an emissary to Trillanes after a congressman, purportedly Golez, revealed last Jan. 14 that it was the late AFP chief who was coddling the military comptrollers' misdeeds.
In the hand-delivered letter by a Trillanes classmate at the PMA, Reyes reportedly stressed to Trillanes that he was not involved in the fund mess and challenged the senator to identify the powerful official behind Garcia.
However, in the Jan. 28 Senate hearing on Garcia's controversial plea bargaining agreement, Trillanes echoed Golez's claim that Reyes was indeed involved. Trillanes had said he was irked by Reyes's claims that he never benefited from corruption while in the military.
After Reyes committed suicide on Feb. 8, Trillanes said someone higher than Reyes must have been behind Garcia.
Robles then then addressed the military men in the audience: "You must think of your role and resist every effort for the forces of darkness to get at you and make you do what you must not do, which is to pervert the rule of law."