MANILA, Philippines – Five of the 10 military chiefs of staff of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday faced the House Justice Committee to categorically deny any wrongdoing in the management of military finances during their time in office.
Former Armed Forces chiefs of staff Narciso Abaya, Dionisio Santiago, Generoso Senga, Hermogenes Esperon, and Alexander Yano faced the committee and denied that they received payola upon their assumption and upon their retirement from office.
Three other former Arroyo chiefs of staff – Angelo Reyes, Diomedio Villanueva, and Roy Cimatu – did not attend the hearing.
Reyes did not communicate the reasons for his absence. Villanueva’s wife just died while now Ambassador Cimatu is still on assignment as chairman of the Middle East preparedness team.
Abaya said that another Armed Forces chief, Efren Abu, abolished the position of military comptroller that was prone to corruption.
They also stopped the provision for command directed activities (PCDA) – a lump sum that can be abused. “Like all other systems, it can be subject to abuse.”
The generals also denied that their wives were jetsetters at the expense of the government.
Villanueva said his wife is a jetsetter because their child works for Northwest Airlines and they have a garments business.