Soldiers demoralized over AFP corruption reports

By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2011 07:11 PM | Updated as of Feb 03 2011 04:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Eduardo Batac admitted on Wednesday that the revelations made by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa during the Senate hearing last week over alleged irregularities and anomalies in the Armed Forces have affected the morale of soldiers.

He said this is why it is imperative that an investigation must be done for the truth to come out.

"It is unfair to come up with accusations involving people who don't know anything or come up with judgments that they could be involved in anomalies. We want to get to the bottom of this. We regret that some of our comrades were involved pero huwag sana lahatin marami pa rin opisyal na dedicated and devoted to their duties," Batac said.

Navy Petty Officer 3 Gilbert Atienza said rank-and-file soldiers in the field should get more support. 

"Kung talaga pong totoo na may ganoon, sana po naibigay na lang sa amin. Pandagdag man lang ng aming mess allowance."

Amy Sergeant Aldrin Jimenez, a member of the 4th Special Forces Battallion, echoed Atienza's statement.

"Bigyan pa sana kami ng mga benepisyo na maitulong namin sa pamilya. Lalo na kami na nasa malalayong pamilya," he said.

Soldiers' wives are also irked over stories on the alleged luxurious lifestyle of the wives of retired generals Carlos Garcia and Angelo Reyes. 

Special investigative body

Batac said that after Rabusa's exposé, DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin formed a special investigative body to investigate and inquire on the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices involving retired Major General Carlos Garcia and others. 

The body was given 30 days, or until the end of February, to submit its report. 

To fast track the investigation given the short period, the investigating body was tasked to form sub-committees that would focus on the different issues such as the alleged "pabaon system," the missing US$5-million military aid from the United Nations, and others. 

The scope of the sub-committes and their composition have yet to be determined by the body headed by lawyer Patrick Velez, DND chief legal service department. 

The sub-committees were given 10 days upon formation to come up with initial reports on their respective investigations. 

A preliminary investigation will be held on Friday at the Armed Forces Commission Officer's Clubhouse.