Ombudsman drops plunder, graft raps vs ex-military officer-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
MANILA -- State witnesses like former military budget officer George Rabusa are insulated from cases, the Office of the Ombudsman said, as it junked the plunder and graft charges against him for alleged misuse of funds in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In a 13-page resolution dated February 27, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the complainants cannot question Rabusa’s qualification as a state witness.
It said the Supreme Court had vested in the Department of Justice “the power to determine who can qualify as a witness in the program and who shall be granted immunity from prosecution.”
The case stemmed from complaints filed by Arturo Besana, a Resident Auditor of the Commission on Audit (COA) assigned at the AFP General Headquarters from December 1, 1994 to June 29, 1995, and Major Ernesto Angulo.
Complainants charged Rabusa on the basis of his alleged “admissions” regarding the illegal transfer of funds in an amended complaint he filed with the DOJ against Besana and 12 others for plunder.
In the complaint, Rabusa stated that he gave instructions to convert P200 million into dollars “without going through the regular banking system” and subsequently transmitted to a bank in Bangkok, Thailand.
Rabusa said the funds came from personnel services or from salary and allowances of soldiers with then AFP chief Diomedio Villanueva taking some P160 million as send off gift in 2002.
In previous interviews, he also alleged that former AFP chief Angelo Reyes got P50 million as cash gift upon his retirement in 2001 and another P5 million a month when he was defense secretary from March 2001 to August 2003.
The controversy pushed Reyes to commit suicide before his parents' tombs in February 2011. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)