Fisherfolk to Aquino: Charge ex-defense chief with plunder

THE militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday dared President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to instruct the Department of Justice (DoJ) to file plunder and other appropriate charges against former defense secretary Angelo Reyes for pocketing P50 million in send off money and another P 100 million from the P5 million in monthly take during Reyes stint in 20 months as former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The 95 million Filipinos are calling this administration to file plunder and other criminal charges against former defense secretary Reyes and Mr.Aquino should be stopped from treating this case as bargaining leverage to strike deal with the Reyes camp in the name of political accomodation. The ball is now in Malacanang’s court,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Aquino should also determine the culpability of former President, now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the latter being the commander-in-chief when the raid on the AFP funds was committed.

“We believe Mrs. Arroyo is not only privy to Reyes all-out plunder escapade. She gave her blessings to this round-the-clock corruption,” added Hicap.

A retired lieutenant colonel yesterday made a surprise appearance at the Senate and disclosed how he and his ex-bosses allegedly amassed wealth, with a large portion of the loot taken from soldiers’ salaries.

Retired Col. George Rabusa said Reyes received a send-off gift of “not less than” P50 million when he retired in 2001.

Rabusa admitted during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the plea bargain agreement between government prosecutors and ex-military comptroller Gen. Carlos Garcia, that he personally delivered the cash to the “White House,” Reyes’ then quarters at Camp Aguinaldo, that year. He said he was accompanied by the then military comptroller, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot.

On top of the purported send off gift,” Reyes, who later became defense secretary, allegedly received a monthly take of at least P5 million—or around P100 million in his 20 months as AFP chief of staff. Rabusa said he and Ligot made the monthly deliveries.

Rabusa said Reyes’ office also received another P5 million monthly, but added that the amount was spent for office needs and was not necessarily pocketed by Reyes.

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