Death of a general: Who was Angelo Reyes?

By David Dizon,

Posted at Feb 08 2011 09:56 AM | Updated as of Feb 08 2011 10:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - At 7:45 a.m., February 8, 2011, former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes was shot in the chest, the victim of an apparent suicide, just minutes after visiting his mother's tomb at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

His death brings an end to a political career marked with controversy, culminating in a corruption scandal that involved at least 3 former military chiefs during the Arroyo administration.

Reyes first grabbed nationwide attention when, as Armed Forces chief, he joined opposition forces during the 4-day bloodless revolt that ousted then President Joseph Estrada in January 2001. Ironically, it was Estrada himself who chose him to become chief of staff of the military a year earlier.

His role in the "EDSA 2" revolt won him favor in the Arroyo administration. During the incumbency of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he shuttled to different Cabinet posts as secretary of the defense (2001-2003), interior and local government (2004-2006), environment and natural resources (2006-2007), and energy (2007-2010). He is the Arroyo administration's longest-serving cabinet member.

During the "Hello, Garci" wiretapping scandal, he became part of a cabal of officials who remained loyal to President Arroyo despite calls for her removal.

Last year, Reyes ran for Congress as representative of party-list group 1-Utak but was disqualified by the Commission on Elections.

Last month, he was accused by his former military budget officer George Rabusa of pocketing P50 million in military funds upon his retirement as AFP chief in 2001. He was also accused of protecting his former military comptroller Carlos Garcia who is facing plunder charges for allegedly stealing P303 million in military funds.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon inquiry, Reyes denied the accusation and even asked Rabusa: "Ako ba ay naging swapang o ganid? (Was I ever greedy?)” He later filed libel charges against Rabusa.

Reyes refused to return to the Senate inquiry until 4 senators inhibited themselves in the hearings. Before his death, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee said they would cite Reyes in contempt if he continued to ignore the panel's summonses.

His death, however, ended his own role in the corruption investigation.

Education, personal life

Reyes held an Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government (KSG) at Harvard University (1991), and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management (1973). Aside from these, he also studied trust corporations at the Northwestern University in Chicago, and logistics management at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterrey, California.

He was also a member of the Class of 1966 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), where he graduated in the top ten (7th).

He also topped the command and staff course at the AFP Command and General Staff College, as well as the trust corporations management course at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

He was also the valedictorian of the Class of 1960 of the Cubao High School (now Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School).

He was born on March 17, 1945, in San Miguel, Manila, to public school teachers Pablo Reyes and Purificacion Tomas Reyes.

He is survived by his wife, Teresita Pernia Reyes, and five sons. With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News