Closer Than Brothers

Buencamino does political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 14 October  2004, page 11.

He is kind. He lives simply, that’s why I was surprised.  He has helped many, -AIR FORCE GEN.(ret.) JAIME CANATOY

General Garcia does not deserve to go to prison all by himself.

Comm.(ret) Rex  Robles of the Feliciano Commission said, “If you are the comptroller, you follow the dictates of your boss. The only way for you to make money is to gain from the shenanigans of your superior. So, in all of Garcia’s three years as comptroller, he must have served, maybe, four, five, six chiefs of staff, and his bosses should all be asked to explain how and why such things involving alleged massive graft could have happened.”

Generals Villanueva, Defensor, Santiago, Cimatu, and Abaya should submit their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) to the Ombudsman and call their lawyers, fast.

Gen. Abaya should also be asked to explain why he did not conduct a more thorough investigation of the allegations against Garcia.

When Gen. Abaya was asked about his interview with Gen. Garcia last February, he said, “He tried to explain the sources of that fund … He said he had business, business, etc., etc…. There was no specific mention.” There you are. A thorough investigation of one PMAer by a West Pointer.

And Abaya added, “We did not terminate the investigation [but] we cannot proceed that fast because there is not much evidence other than the [oral] information. The hard evidence was not forwarded to us, it was directly sent to the Ombudsman…”  Clearly, the West Pointer did not think that an investigator is supposed to look for “hard evidence”, not wait for it to land on his lap.

When the Ombudsman heard about Gen Garcia’s case, he asked for the general’s SALN. It is the obvious first step in conducting an investigation into unexplained wealth. Naturally, not one investigator, including Abaya, thought of doing this.

One shouldn’t be surprised at the way the AFP does things.

When a losing bidder offering to supply combat boots to the AFP exposed the existence of a suppliers’ cartel, General Abaya admitted that he had known about their existence for a long time. He told reporters, “they meet in dimly lit restaurants” where they rig bids and then they send “pretty ladies in miniskirt” to collect payment from GHQ.

The general said he was determined to put a stop to the cartel’s operations so, as soon as he became Chief of Staff, he issued an order banning pretty ladies in miniskirts from GHQ.

One can presume that if the miniskirt ban failed, the general would issue another order, this time ordering bright lights for restaurants. Remember the other West Pointer who punished putchists with push-ups?

The AFP has its own way of dealing with “abusive members.”   Maj. Gen. Edilberto Adan, the military spokesman, said, “It is not the military way to announce disciplinary measures for its abusive members.” What he should have said was, “It is not the military way to take disciplinary measures.” Period.

Gen. Abaya’s response to queries about other generals being investigated was, “”I don’t know, offhand, their names … I don’t know exactly the number.” See what I mean about taking “disciplinary measures?”

Let’s see if this republic can be strong enough to do what it’s supposed to do. How about a photo-op with the Commander in Chief surrounded by generals in handcuffs?

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