Today, the names of AFP Generals like that of Angelo Reyes, Diomedio Villanueva, Roy Cimatu and their Comptrollers Carlos Garcia and Jacinto Ligot frequent the news, not mainly because of their services to the nation, but for pocketing millions of pesos from the state agency. Money which is most needed and could have been used to provide the common soldiers of their boots, uniforms, firearms and other equipment. The so called Bienvenida and Despidida system existed during their times, and this was on top of their monthly 5 million pesos allowance from the AFP coffers + the neverending foreign trips of their hifi wifeys.
Thanks to Retired AFP Budget Officer George Rabusa, his assistant Col. Antonio Lim and COA Auditor Heidi Mendoza for bravely exposing these anomalies. I hope their efforts will bear results, not just grilling inquiries and investigations by the Senate and the lower house, but like what they always say, regardless of how long this whole saga takes, it still ends up in the Ombudsman. God bless the victims.
The so called best buddies in foreign trips were the wives of Angelo Reyes and Jacinto Ligot, Teresita and Erlinda, respectively, which often, went with their entourage composed of civilian friends and wives of other military officials. For Ligot alone, 42 trips and for each trip, the AFP shouldered the shopping money of $10,000 and sometimes $15,000. Also, Erlinda Ligot has 2 houses in California worth $688,000 acquired in 2002 and 2003. Her “Amnesia Boy” hubby can hardly remember these properties when asked by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada during the Senate Hearing. All in all, the Ligots has 8 real properties in the United States. Mrs. Ligot, surely lives a good life and enjoyed every opportunity her husband’s work provided her.
Reyes on the other hand was accused of pocketing P50 million in send-off gift (pabaon) when he retired in 2001 after only 20 months in office, on top of a P5-million monthly allocation during his term. He denied the allegations. Today, he shot himself dead in front of his mother’s grave. He was heard saying “Sorry” before he shot himself in the chest. The route he took to escape from the trouble he is in, is said to be the biggest crime and sin against life and does not deserve a christian burial according to catholic rites and beliefs.
On top of their 10 million each, for pasalubong (initial cash gift) and 5 million each, monthly allowance, Villanueva allegedly received 164,000 million pesos and Cimatu, 80,000 million pesos, when they retired as their share of the pabaon (send off gifts), will continue to face these accusations, unless they follow Reyes, then its a different story, another lost for the Philippine coffers.
Another revelation, on top of the initial cash gifts, monthly allowance and send off gifts, there was a ready cash available for the AFP Chief and other officials for their personal and operational expenses, the amount of no lesser than 20,000 million pesos, called a sinking fund. In other words, these money kept in a vault should not go below 20m, otherwise, it should be replenished right away with funds coming from skimmed off allocations for salaries and operational expenses of military units. The conversion, had the go-signal of military comptrollers and the knowledge of state auditors who received commissions.
To former Comptroller Carlos Garcia and COA Auditor Divina Cabrera, we will keep an eye on your answers in defense of the allegations against you two.
To the Filipino soldiers in the field, let’s be glad this corruption is finally revealed. Let’s not lost hope, but continue to trust and serve the whole Filipino nation. God is with us.