Robles claims 'high profile individual' got P350-M from AFP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2011 11:00 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2011 01:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles on Saturday revealed that a high profile individual profited from the coffers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), far more than the generals who were named by former military budget officer George Rabusa.

"Wait for the P350 million,” Robles said during Saturday’s Kapihan sa Sulo.

Robles, a close friend of former AFP chief of staff Gen. Angelo Reyes, refused to elaborate on the identity of the personality who reportedly demanded and received the P350 million.

“It's about to come out,” he said.

Robles made the revelation a day before the scheduled burial of Reyes, who committed suicide after his family was dragged into the military fund mess.

Rabusa said Reyes received P50 million in send-off money when he retired in 2001, and that Reyes' wife received large sums for shopping during trips abroad.

Reyes shot himself last Feb. 8 while visiting the tomb of his mother.

Conversion
Robles, meanwhile, admitted that the AFP leadership has indeed practiced "conversion" or the shaving of funds from various items in the AFP budget to turn it into loose cash should the troops need it.

"Ang conversion, there's a reason it became necessary because the way the military operates. Kung kailangan ng pera, magko-convert ka,” he said.

This, Robles said, is what happened in the case of Reyes. While serving as chief of staff, Robles said Reyes could not resist extending immediate assistance to the troops.

"A guy like Reyes, you ask around, [kung] umalis ba siya [na] naiiwang bokya ang unit?” said Robles.

Robles, however, admitted that such a practice is highly prone to abuse.

When members of the media asked about the effect of the recent controversies on troops' morale, Robles became emotional.

“When I think of the soldiers, how they are doing in the field? It breaks my heart in that sense,” he said, teary-eyed.

“Yet people will conduct investigations seemingly to show na wala nang kwenta ang Armed Forces. We have a good Armed Forces. Believe me," said Robles. -- With a report from Chiara Sambrano, ABS-CBN News