No sanctions yet on AFP men facing plunder

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2011 03:56 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2011 03:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The military leadership on Monday said it will not yet impose administrative sanctions on active military officers slapped with a P2.3 billion plunder case filed last week.

In an interview, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said the AFP leadership will not impose sanctions such as relief from duty on 7 active officers included in the complaint until the Department of Justice finishes its investigation.

“We are right now in the middle of (investigation). It is still early to come up with a recommendation on administrative sanctions. We will have to wait. It is still too early to determine," he said.

Former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa filed the complaint before the Department Justice last Thursday against 17 personalities, including retired AFP chiefs Diomedio Villanueva, Roy Cimatu and Efren Abu.

Also charged were former military comptrollers Maj. Gen. (ret.) Carlos Garcia, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jacinto Ligot, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Hilario Atendido, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Epineto Logico, Maj (ret.) Ernesto Paranis and government auditors Generoso del Castilllo and Divina Cabrera.

The active officers who were included in the complaint are Brig. Gen. Benito de Leon, colonels Cerilo Donato, Roy Devesa, Gilbert Gapay and Robert Arevalo, Navy Capt. Kenneth Paglinawan, and Maj. Emerson Angulo.

Mabanta said the military is providing the officers still in the active service the legal assistance because the offense leveled against them were connected with their duties.

He said the move should not be construed that the AFP is condoning corruption among its ranks. "That is (legal assistance) due them. Remember, these are just filed in courts and until they are proven guilty, they remain to be innocent,” he said.