MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is investigating another senior official after finding out irregularities in the military’s consumption of petroleum, oil and lubricants, which reached almost half a billion in just one quarter.
In a press briefing, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said the probe against AFP deputy chief of staff for logistics Commodore Teddy Pan was ordered by current chief Gen. Eduardo Oban himself.
Former AFP chief Gen. Ricardo David supposedly informed Oban of the anomaly during the turnover ceremony last March 7.
"He (David) was not knowledgeable until the latter part (of his tenure) and he was the one who initiated the conduct of the investigation," said Mabanta.
David and Pan are both members of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1997.
Pan, who is set to retire on July 17, supposedly reported a P400 million-worth consumption of petroleum, oil and lubricants from January to March 15, way above the authorized P150 million for every quarter.
The incident is fueling suspicions that the military is still resorting to an illegal conversion scheme to generate funds for the going-away gift of David, who declared earlier he had not received any.
"There is now an ongoing investigation. Initial investigation apparently states that there seems to be no discrepancy, there seems to be no malpractices. However, it is still too early and we will be informing you of the developments as we move on," Mabanta said.
"As of now, there seems to be no anomalies and malpractices that has been reported per initial updates...We checked our figures, there is no problem. They (supplies) all tally but we have to dig deeper," Mabanta added.
He said the move is part of Oban’s promise to rid the military of corruption.
"This is part of the reforms that we are instituting. The chief of staff continues to look at all angles that are possible sources of corruption and we will not stop, we will continue, to include petroleum management and others," Mabanta added.
He noted, however, that Pan would not be relieved from his post pending the probe.
"If his continued stay in that position may hamper, may result in us not being able to get of the data, then he will have to be relieved...At this point, he is not relieved," Mabanta stressed.