Palace to former PGMA: Speak up if there’s nothing to hide

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2011 02:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2011 05:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should be confident enough to tell the public that she has nothing to do with the scandal in the military, a Malacanang official said.

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said while it is up to Arroyo to answer new allegations against her, “kung walang itinatago, wala dapat ikatakot [in participating].”

Different militant groups and lawmakers are calling for a probe against Arroyo for her possible links to the military’s “pabaon” system.

Arroyo’s name is being dragged anew to allegations of corruption following the revelation of a former budget officer of the military that different chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under her administration received either send-off money or welcome gifts while in position.

During a Senate hearing on Thursday, ex-military budget officer George Rabusa appeared and particularly named former AFP chief Angelo Reyes in the controversy.

He said Reyes received P50 million in "pabaon" (send-off money) when he retired in 2002. This was aside from the P5 million in monthly discretionary funds that he received from the military comptroller's office.

Rabusa said former AFP chiefs Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu received P10 million each in "pasalubong" (welcome gift) when they assumed the AFP leadership.

He is preparing an affidavit that would detail Arroyo’s supposed links to the transactions.

In the meantime, Malacanang is keeping silent until after evidence comes out that “would show [Arroyo] was complicit…The process has to be followed,” Valte said.

She also said Malacanang is still waiting for Rabusa’s alleged bombshell.

“Binigyan niya lang po tayo ng patikim, he just wants to finish his affidavit,” she added.