MANILA, Philippines - Years after investigating the alleged involvement of military officers in electoral fraud in 2004, the Department of National Defense (DND) has yet to release the full report of a fact-finding probe on the allegations.
On Thursday, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares urged defense officials during the budget hearing to release the so-called Mayuga report on the military's investigation on the alleged poll fraud.
Colmenares said he had previously written President Aquino for a copy of the report, but the Office of the President said it has no copy of the report.
The DND, meanwhile, said it is still studying the report, which was completed in 2005.
Defense Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Pio Batino explained to lawmakers that the President asked them to study the report and validate its findings. Batino said this is why they told Colmenares they want time to study the report first.
Colmenares persisted and asked not just for the report but also transcripts, saying the officers involved are already retired, and that the defense department won’t change the contents of the report or transcripts anyway.
Upon questioning, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Mayuga report was classified as "secret."
This surprised Colmenares who said even former President Gloria Arroyo already reportedly declassified the document and asked that it be published.
Batino said they have not seen any document that shows Arroyo declassified the document.
Appropriations committee chairman Jun Abaya promised he will check on the security access of the document.
DND seeks P682M budget
Defense officials presented before lawmakers its 2012 budget proposal for the department and its attached agencies.
The DND is asking a P682 million budget for next year, up from P310 million in 2011.The budget includes P232 million in capital outlays in the quick response funds.
The Office of Civil Defense, which includes the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, has a budget of P1.2 billion, up from P90.89 million in 2011. This includes P530 million in quick response funds for disasters.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has a total proposed budget of P95.88 billion. The Philippine Army will receive P35 billion, the Philippine Air Force gets P10.5 billion, and the Philippine Navy gets P12.08 billion.
The budget also allocates P5 billion for the AFP modernization program. The Army alone has some P26 billion in combat operations funds, which includes intelligence funds.