CEOs urge Congress to finish AFP probe after Reyes' death

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2011 08:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2011 04:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - 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 on Tuesday.

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) expressed its condolences to the family of Reyes, who died from a single gunshot wound to the chest in an apparent suicide Tuesday morning.

“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.

The House committee on justice pushed through with Tuesday’s hearing, dismissing a motion to adjourn because of Reyes’ death. The former AFP chief was supposed to testify in the hearing on the plea bargain deal entered into by the government and former AFP comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

“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.”

MAP earlier called for an independent probe into allegations that former AFP chiefs of staff, including Reyes, received millions of pesos in perks.

Former AFP budget officer, retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, disclosed in a hearing that Reyes had received a regular P5 million monthly pay-off while in office and some P50 million as send-off money when he retired. Reyes' wife also allegedly received large sums of money for her travels.