Rabusa told: Don’t hide under government’s witness protection program

RETIRED and active military officials named in the plunder complaint by retired Col. George Rabusa before the Department of Justice have asked the whistle blower to allow himself and his charges to be challenged by not hiding behind the government’s witness protection program.

The respondents said while Rabusa must pursue and prove his charges, he should also allow himself to be perused in order to lend credence and credibility to his allegations by expunging himself as a state witness.

“If he really has a meat and believes in his accusations, he should not hide behind the cloak of a state witness. This way, we could also challenge him, respond to his charges, and allow us to seek legal remedy against his claims,” one of the respondent official said.

The official noted that when the retired colonel made his expose before the Senate, and which he later pursued by filing the plunder complaint, he asked that he be placed under the government’s witness protection program and which made him a state witness.

Last week, Rabusa amended his complaint before the justice department and included five more officials as respondents, and it included retired Army 10th Infantry Division chief Ernesto Boac, who is now the assistant secretary for comptrollership of the Department of National Defense.

In his charges, Rabusa claimed that a number of retired and active military officials, including at least three former chiefs of staff, earned and received millions of pesos out of the funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The military, through its spokesman, Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, pushed for the investigation and prosecution, if warranted, of the officials named through the DOJ and other legally-mandated agencies of the government, but it also said the probe should include all those involved in the reported corruption, including Rabusa.

“We must all be accountable for our actions,” Rodriguez said.

During the Senate hearing, Rabusa admitted that he himself received P500, 000 in private allowance as a budget officer and had P200 million in a personal bank account which he was forced to withdraw upon the enactment of the Anti-money Laundering Law.

In October 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Rabusa with dishonesty; grave misconduct; conduct unbecoming a public officer; perjury; and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Office of the Ombudsman said Rabusa never declared any of his business interest and financial connection, along with those of his wife, Debie, in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) from 1984 up to 2003.

The Ombudsman, in filing the charges, found Rabusa to have amassed more than P17 million, which include a P1 million investment in Arevalo Rabusa and Templora, Inc.

The anti-graft office also found him the owner of several bank accounts with more than P10 million deposits, driving several luxury cars and spent at least P1 million on travels.

He also had a questionable inheritance worth more than P4 million.

In investigating the whistleblower, the Ombudsman secured records at the Securities and Exchange Commision showing his wife was a stockholder and a member of the board of directors of Arevalo Rabusa, Templora Inc.

It said Rabusa made it appear that his wife earns a substantial income from employment also at Triple A Co.

However, a check by the Ombudsman showed that Triple A is not registered with the SEC.

The Ombudsman, which secured certification from the Bureau of Immigration, also said that as a lowly middle-grade officer, Rabusa traveled 17 times since 1993 to different countries, including Australia, the United States, France and other Asian countries.

Likewise, his wife traveled with their children Dorothy Grace, Diana Grace and Danielle George to different destinations abroad.

Rabusa’s travel expenses in 2000 and 2001 alone amounted to P1 million, but he did not declare these trips in his SALN.

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