Expect more bombshells in Senate probe: Jinggoy-A A +A
Saturday, February 12, 2011
SEN. Jinggoy Estrada yesterday said the death of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Angelo Reyes will not stop the inquiry on the alleged large-scale military corruption.
Expect more bombshells when the Senate investigation resumes this week, he said.
Speaking at the 23rd founding anniversary of the Alliance of Nationalism and Democracy, Jinggoy said before Reyes took his own life, the country already had the impression that anomalies were rampant in the AFP, with several generals and high-ranking government officials involved.
“When Reyes killed himself, some elements from the corrupt society made it appear that we were at fault. What happened to Reyes cannot match what happened to my father, former president Joseph Estrada and me when we were humiliated in public and in front of media cameras,” Jinggoy said.
He said they were imprisoned and “falsely accused” of crimes they never did in a media trial. (The former president was convicted, but granted pardon by the Arroyo government.)
“Even congressmen and senators humiliated us while in full media coverage. But we chose to fight because we did not commit any wrongdoing… and now we are free,” he said.
He denied reports that the investigation against Reyes was an act of revenge because the latter supported the coup d’etat that ousted his father in 2001.
“There’s nothing personal against Reyes or anybody. Trabaho lang ang ginawa ko (It was my job). We just want to get to the truth and it just happened that somebody testified,” he said, referring to retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza.
For divulging details on the alleged corruption in the military and the Commission on Audit before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the House Committee on Justice, Mendoza earned the respect and support of the Cebu City Council.
The council cited Article XI, Section I of the 1987 Constitution: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”
It said there appears to be a stronger public uproar for upholding the state policy, after Mendoza revealed details of what seemed to be a systematic effort to “downplay” the plunder case against former AFP comptroller, Major Gen. Carlos F. Garcia.
‘Strong case v. Garcia’
Garcia is facing a plunder case before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly pocketing P303 million of the AFP fund.
Councilor Edgardo Labella, who authored the resolution, quoted the opinion of some analysts that the testimonies of Mendoza and Rabusa before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the House Committee on Justice, taken together, present “a very strong case of plunder against Garcia.”
As this developed, the council, through the resolution of Labella, urged the legislative department to strengthen the Witness Protection Act, considering the harrowing experiences of other whistleblowers.
The council wants Mendoza, Rabusa and other potential witnesses to be protected from any potential security threat.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2011.