De Lima: Rabusa affidavit enough for preliminary probe

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2011 02:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2011 10:49 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former military budget officer George Rabusa has yet to file a comprehensive affidavit at the Department of Justice (DOJ) detailing the extent of his knowledge on alleged misuse of funds and corruption in the Armed Forces but as early as now, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima expects it to be sufficient to warrant a preliminary investigation (PI).

This would mean that Rabusa's affidavit will take the form of a complaint-affidavit naming personalities to be possibly charged in connection with the military slush fund controversy.

"Most probably baka diretso na ng preliminary investigation kasi yun ang sabi nila (Rabusa camp) kaya tumatagal, hindi pa tapos. If that is the case, then we're expecting it to be really extensive, comprehensive and complete and therefore would be sufficient for purposes of preliminary investigation. I may be wrong but iyan ang expectation ko," De Lima said.

A preliminary investigation is undertaken by the justice department when formal complaints are filed before it to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the respondent(s) committed the crime and therefore warrants the filing of the appropriate information in a court of law.

The justice chief clarified that what Rabusa filed last Friday was a supplemental affidavit to his February 2 sworn statement, for purposes of coverage under the DOJ Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Rabusa is now under 90-day WPP provisional coverage. His admission to full coverage remains pending.

Once Rabusa files the expected complaint-affidavit, De Lima said the justice department is bound to proceed with the preliminary investigation even as the defense department is conducting its own probe into the alleged misuse of military funds and Congress is holding its investigation in aid of legislation.

The results of the defense department's and congressional probes may be integrated into the preliminary investigation, which will be conducted by the DOJ panel, De Lima said.  

"We need not wait for the DND (Department of National Defense), or for the Senate. It would initiate already the PI process na, you know, we'll file summons for the respondents or the would-be respondents for them to file counter-affidavits and then other pleadings later," De Lima clarified.

"Whether they will be integrated into that case na manggagaling kay Col. Rabusa o iba ring kaso, it all depends on the facts, especially kung there are facts there or other evidence na iba dun sa ipo-provide sa atin ni Col. Rabusa," De Lima added.

Rabusa came out in the open recently claiming former ranking military officials pocketed millions in Armed Forces' funds, including former chiefs of staffs who allegedly pocketed millions in "send-off" money upon their retirement.