Palace reacts to Aussie ambassador's concern over corruption

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2011 08:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2011 04:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Friday addressed the reported statements of the Australian ambassador, expressing concern over corruption in the military.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said reforms are being undertaken by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to prevent incidents of corruption from happening again. 

"Well, we understand these concerns and we share these concerns, which is why yesterday, Gen. [Jose] Mabanta was here to show the reforms that have been undertaken by the Armed Forces in order to prevent such allegations from arising in the future, and that we have also made sure that we have systems in place. We have sound internal controls in agencies to monitor expenditures and spending. You have seen our Department of Budget and Management monitoring very closely again expenditures of agencies. And we just like to, again, reiterate that we are one with the public in the search for accountability when it comes to these allegations, which is why the President has ordered several agencies to conduct the necessary fact-finding investigations also to shed light on these allegations," Valte said.

The Palace also issued a reaction on the possibility of Congress summoning former Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Hilario Davide on the reported misuse of UN funds for peacekeepers,
"At this point, it's speculation until the former Chief Justice is actually sent an invitation by the Lower House if indeed that is what is going to happen. And second, we are not quite clear at this point if there was indeed any involvement because from what we saw from court records and based on the testimony of the auditor, Ms. Heidi Mendoza, the credit memo was given straight to the AFP. We do not know how exactly these arrangements worked but, at this point, we would like to have that clarified first," Valte said.