Speak It Out

Work is my commitment. Learning is my passion. Faith is my strength. Love is my life.

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Location: Manila, Philippines

The name Ardythe:good war (Anglo-saxon); flowering field (Hebrew); spiritual prosperity (Swedish); Norwegian goddess.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Corruption in the Military

Title has been chosen with respect to Antonio Trillanes's paper in Public Administration (UP Diliman, he was my dad's classmate) This has been going on for years, and somehow, it is still here....

From Today,

Solons get Garcia to 'own' $.1M in US note

TODAY Senior Reporter

It was a perfectly laid trap and controversial Major Gen. Carlos Garcia fell for it.

Kabalikat ng Masang Pilipino Rep. Roilo Golez of Para–aque City finally got Garcia into admitting that he had written officials in the United States claiming ownership of the $100,000 seized by US Customs authorities from two of his sons in December and asking that the money be returned to him.

Golez, chairman of the Committee on National Defense investigating Garcia and the alleged corruption in the Armed Forces, led Garcia into admitting his having written the Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture Office of the US Customs in San Francisco, California, by asking a series of questions pertaining to his personal circumstances and family.

Golez first asked about Garcia's wife and sons, and in all these questions, Garcia gave definite answers. He told the panel that his wife, Clarita, is an American citizen, a registered nurse in California, and that she now manages the family farm in Dumangas, Iloilo.

Garcia said he has three sons 'Juan Paolo, Ian Carl and Timothy Mark' who are all studying. He said the youngest, Timothy Mark, studies in the US' at Parson's School in New York' and lives in an apartment in the area.

When Golez asked him who pays for his son's schooling, Garcia said his brother-in-law, Quillon Depakakibo, paid for the first semester. He said his brother-in-law works in Guam.

Garcia may not have noticed it, but the stipulations made by Golez were lifted from the contents of Garcia?s letter to US authorities dated January 12, 2004. And he suceeded in tricking Garcia into admitting the existence of the said letter, which he refused to verify during the panel's hearing on Monday.

In that said meeting, Garcia kept his mouth shut about his alleged unexplained wealth and invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination at least 30 times.

Golez then asked Garcia: 'But that [Garcia's statement that his brother-in-law paid for his son's schooling] does not seem to conform with your letter.?

To this Garcia remarked: 'You honor, that is not the intent of the letter.' Golez then asked: 'Do you mean I have misread your letter? Garcia replied: 'The support of my brother-in-law is not total, it's only a contribution to my son?s schooling.'

Golez told Garcia that he did not mention in his letter that the money was intended as additional support for his son's schooling. Garcia replied that he would have that information checked. Golez then asked if he was virtually confirming the contents of his letter, Garcia tried to wiggle out by saying: 'I'm sorry you honor, I cannot testify against myself.?

Golez said Garcia can no longer feign ignorance about the letter since he previously categorically answered questions directly related to the said document.

In an interview later, Golez said the letter is significant as it establishes clearly that Garcia owns the $100,000 seized by the US Customs and that he explained in that letter how he got the money and where he intends to spend it.

'I am writing your good office in reference to my sons ' Juan Paolo and Ian Carl' request for petition for relief from the seizure of funds,' Garcia said in his letter.

'Sir/Madam, the amount of money seized from my sons were sourced from the savings of my personal income, honorariums and allowances and dividends from capital contributions earned and saved through the years. I judiciously spend for our family expenses and sustenance and in order to saved [sic] for education of my children. Request for your kind understanding and favorable disposition on the case of my sons. With highest esteem,' Garcia said.

He also told the US Customs that besides being a major general in the Armed Forces, he was the J6 (Armed Forces Comptroller) and the concurrent director of the Armed Forces Retirement and Separation Benefits System (RSBS); trustee of the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc.; chairman of the board, Monterosa Development Corp., an AFP-RSBS subsidiary; director, R&R Travel Tours, an Armed Forces General Insurance Corp. subsidiary; and chairman of the board, Camp Aguinaldo Golf Council.

Garcia said that he requested his sons to bring the $100,000 intended for the payment of the 'initial down payment of the condominium apartment my son Timothy Mark will reside; tuition and registration fees for the school year 2004 of my son Timothy Mark at Parson's School, New York, and family expenses for the holiday seasons, which we intend to spend in New York.'

He said that he failed to advise his sons regarding the declaration of the money to the US Customs.

Tuesday's public hearing zeroed in on the alleged rampant practice of ?conversion? in the Armed Forces, but like Garcia, the top military officials' lips were sealed.

Congressmen grilled Maj. Gen. Antonio Anciano, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics or J4, but the latter insisted that he has no knowledge about conversion and that he cannot confirm if such practice had been occurring.

'I don't know of any conversion that happened,' Anciano told the committee.

Golez insisted that in the previous hearing, the Vice Chief of Staff, Vice Adm. Ariston delos Reyes, testified that conversion happens at the General Headquarters and in all major services?Army, Navy and Air Force.

He again asked Anciano if conversion occurs, and asked him to give examples. Anciano said that conversion' can happen [in] certain circumstances,' and that he can only venture into giving 'hypothetical example.'

His statements drew sarcastic remarks from Golez and other committee members, who found it hard to believe that Anciano could only imagine things and cannot cite examples based on reality.

Golez then called on retired Brig. Gen. Guillermo Picache, who had written a book about corruption in the country, including that in the military.

Picache, who founded the private think tank Asian Institute of Strategic Studies, cited a classic case of conversion in the military, wherein funds intended for the purchase of gasoline are converted into cash, which are then diverted to other expenses that had no bearing with the military's official duties and responsibilities.

Picache said another case is on the procurement of supplies and materials. 'A unit is allocated funds to buy, say, three dental chairs. The papers are prepared and in the presence of the resident auditor, the first chair is delivered and presented for inspection. When the auditor makes his verification and leaves, the chair is brought out of camp, and it's the same chair that goes around [for inspection and verification by resident auditors in other units]. The same chair is presented as the second and third chairs acquired,' Picache said.

In reality, only one chair is delivered but the money paid is for three dental chairs. Picache said that 30 percent to 50 percent of the whole amount is converted into commission. He said there were instances when there is 100 percent ?ghost delivery.?

'Conversion is like thievery' first you steal the eggs, then the chickens, then pigs and cows. It escalates,? Picache said.

It does not matter anymore if the joke about PMA is true. Sometimes, I think it is. Now, the question is, will this ever end? The impeachment trail is not finished, Neither is the case about the First gentleman. They are only good at the start, and then nothing comes out of it. The justice in our country is that bad, that there is no justice at all. Or should I say that the judicial system itself is corrupt. We are aware of the torture that those in prison endure, so that those policemen can get them to admit the crimes that they are not involved with. I think that the session in court are too humane, that these people do not speak at all, or have a right to invoke my privacy, to quote from Iggy Arroyo.

I watch and read the news for current affairs, and sometimes it bores me. The same stories with different characters. My brain is bursting with much hate for the administration and its corroding system. What hope is left for us, if in UP, we already stage demonstrations for what we think is right. I should be honest enough to admit that I did not join those things...as I have my own beliefs, and one of them is that the school admin knows better. As I child I have opened my eyes.

If only more people will be like me, yearning and making this nation better, then, paradise is with us.


Blogger ting-aling said...

Hi Ardythe,

Thanks for visiting my food blog. I don't know how I should react to your post. I know a lot of PMAyers, 2 brothers-in-law actually and Uncles and Grand Uncles. I am quite proud to say that my BILs are not yet corrupted and their batch in fact is promoting within their class the "anti-corruption" thinking. Maybe they are still Junior Officers-one is a Major in the Army and another is a Colonel. They are still living in austerity as I can see. I hope they stay that way. Both know that they will be ostracized in our family if we learn something funny about their dealings. We still pay for our sister's fare to the US when she visits..we still spend for her children's pasalubongs..and she still asks for money so I think it is still a good sign. As for Uncles and Grand Uncles, I grew up already to have known them as well to do. 2 were West Pointers. They either had rich parents or rich spouses..hehe. I cannot vouch though whether they are clean or not..so far their names haven't come up on the list yet. I have never come across their names either in the newspapers..again..could this be a good sign?

October 27, 2004 2:25 AM  
Blogger Ardythe said...

Definitely it is a good sign. Well, not all of them are dishonest. Majority lang.

October 27, 2004 2:21 PM  

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