Fisherfolk says DND probe on AFP fund scam ridiculous, mind boggling

SUPER ridiculous, mind boggling and first-rate mockery.

This was how the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) dismissed the latest move of the Department of National Defense (DND) to conduct its own investigation on allegations that former Armed Forces Chief of Staffs pocketed millions of AFP funds as “pabaon” for retiring generals of the armed forces.

“President Benigno Simeon Aquino should tell his defense secretary Mr. Voltaire Gazmin to stop insulting the collective intelligence of the Filipino people and quit from pursuing this outrageous escapade. Please allow us to remind the president and secretary Gazmin that¬† the entire AFP is under investigation and under trial here for the extrajudicial raid of taxpayers money,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a statement.

“Therefore, the DND is part of the subject and object of an investigation of long-running crime of corruption in the AFP. It should not be allowed to act on its own and pave way for a millennium whitewash and roll the red carpet exit for the generals,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said President Aquino, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III should order Secretary Gazmin to forget his own escapade and political grandstanding and just let the current investigations in the Senate and in the House of Representatives to proceed and accomplish what they should supposed to do in aid of legislation.

“The lawmakers can recommend the filing of plunder and other appropriate charges against the ransacking generals. They can recommend the filing of charges to to the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice. We don’t trust the AFP doing their own, that’s a crime in itself,” he added.

The Pamalakalaya leader said another department which can take the investigation is the Department of Justice under Secretary Leila de Lima.

“The bottom line is that the investigation of the AFP corruption system and the tradition of corruption by the men in uniform should not be entrusted to military generals waiting their turn for a major raid of public coffers,” said Hicap.

Yesterday, the DND announced it had formed a committee that would investigate former military generals implicated in big time corruption in the AFP. Secretary Gazmin had given members of the committee 30 days to come up with a report and policy recommendations to corruption in the AFP/

The DND said the committee would be recommending actions, policy reforms, and at the same time, come out with findings regarding all of these allegations but the truth here is we would want to give everyone his due because at present it will be an irresponsible statement to make a sweeping indictment of the whole armed forces.

The Senate and House of Representatives are currently conducting independent investigations into the plea bargain agreement entered by the government prosecutors with former military comptroller retired Major General Carlos Garcia who is facing corruption charges for allegedly amassing P 300 million from the armed forces’ funds.

Among the alleged anomalies to be looked into by the DND investigating body are the alleged misappropriation of funds from the United Nations, intelligence, and the personnel.

Likewise, they will also look into the alleged “pabaon tradition” or send-off money being given to retiring chiefs of staff and other top military officers of the armed forces.

The committee said it will go through documents dating between 1998 and 2005, when the alleged anomalies had taken place during the terms of former comptrollers Garcia and retired Lieutenant General Jacinto Ligot.

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