DND: Reforms, not just penalties, needed in military

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2011 11:44 AM | Updated as of Mar 23 2011 07:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is expected to come up with the necessary reforms in the military which would counter corruption that has been plaguing the system for a long time now.

In a press conference, DND spokesman Eduardo Batac said the ad-hoc committee created by the department in January has come up so far with 86 proposals that would still need to be filtered and polished.

The final report is expected to be introduced by the end of the month.

The proposals, which were arrived at following several workshops attended by 136 representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as from the private sector, include reforms in: the procurement process, logistics management, fund disbursements, personnel management, contingency funds and handling of peace-keeping funds.

He said the report is “reforms-oriented” and “forward-looking.”

Beyond that, the committee will instead adapt the findings of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The creation of the committee stemmed from the investigations done in Congress with regard to the corruption in the military.

The supposed irregularity in the plea bargain deal entered into by the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia spawned several more controversies. The most revealing of all was the testimony of former budget officer George Rabusa that some Armed Forces chiefs received send-off or welcome gifts obtained from the military’s budget.

Batac said it is important to punish the offenders but “no matter how guilty they are, they are still entitled to the rights under the law.”

He said the committee could not pre-empt the findings of the investigations, but said the DND would be behind any prosecution efforts in the future.

“The reforms are also important, to see to it that the anomalies in the military will not happen again,” he said.