MANILA - Malacañang defended the appointment of Brig. General Benito Antonio de Leon as the new commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) based in Camp O’ Donnel, Capas, Tarlac, even if de Leon is facing a plunder case over the alleged conversion of military funds.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said de Leon should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“Kung lahat ng may pending case ay patitigilin po natin, mahihirapan po ‘yung hierarchy. Remember, we have a presumption of innocence. There is no decision yet on the case filed against General de Leon so we will rely on the presumption of innocence and let’s wait if there’s a decision,” Lacierda said.
“Mahirap naman na may complaint lang, it’s already a bar. In fact, that particular kind of a provision before—for instance in PLEB (People’s Law Enforcement Board), if there’s a complaint, that’s already a bar to the promotion. Medyo unfair naman ‘yan because there’s a presumption of innocence na kailangan natin obserbahin,” he added.
De Leon was one of the military officers accused by former AFP budget officer George Rabusa of misusing military funds in 2002.
The Department of Justice had recommended the filing of charges against De Leon, along with former AFP Chiefs of Staff Roy Cimatu and Diomedio Villanueva, former AFP Comptrollers Jacinto Ligot, Carlos Garcia, among others.
The case is pending with the Office of the Ombudsman.