Wednesday, February 09, 2011

DZIQ: Reyes ‘dared to sacrifice for common good’, says ex-president Ramos

DZIQ: Reyes ‘dared to sacrifice for common good’, says ex-president Ramos

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Fidel V. Ramos praised former defense secretary and Armed Forces chief Angelo Reyes for “daring to sacrifice for the common good” and hoped that his sacrifice “was not in vain.”

Ramos made the statement to media Wednesday when he paid his respects to Reyes at the Ascension Chapels in Quezon City. Reyes committed suicide Tuesday amid allegations that he was part of the multimillion-peso fund scam in the military.

In the interview aired over Radyo Inquirer, Ramos, a former military chief himself, said Reyes embodied the three pillars of the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation – caring, sharing, and daring.

“The caring and sharing are easy to do,” said Ramos in Filipino.

But he said that daring meant something else because it meant “daring to sacrifice for the common good.”

My pulis take: Exactly. Ramos got it right on the button.

DZIQ: Reyes not greedy; he merely inherited a system—Robles

MANILA, Philippines—“Former Secretary Angelo Reyes just inherited a [rotten] system and he wasn’t greedy,” said retired commodore Rex Robles in an interview on Tuesday with anchor Ramon Tulfo on his top-rating public service show “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” on DZIQ 990 AM Radyo Inquirer.

Robles, in a light-hearted mood, said, “I’m telling you Mon (Tulfo), don’t laugh. But if all military generals who had [traces of graft and corruption] will commit suicide at once, only two or three will be left alive.”

Being a veteran tri-media journalist who has been covering the police and the military for decades, Tulfo said, “My God, that’s true.”

Robles revealed how some generals would ask, upfront, for P350 million.

My pulis take:

Robles hit the nail in the head. The only sin of Reyes is the sin of omission. He inherited a corrupt system and did not change it. But the bigger question is: "Was he in the position to do so?" Yes, he was the Chief of Staff. But was he in the position to tell the DBM to program more budget for the purchase of combat boots of his men instead of money for personal services? If he tried, (or anyone for that matter) how would he have countered the oft-repeated justification of people doing the conversion, “I would rather have 70 pesos in cash than a hundred in paper.”

For his part, I believe that Reyes actually believe that he was being truthful when he said that he had not been greedy. But greedy is a relative term. What is greed for one maybe great moderation and discipline to another. However, for me, Reyes is indeed not greedy. 50 million is peanuts compared to the hundreds of millions that the others received (and demanded). But still, he still sinned.

Thus General Angelo Reyes led the way for others who had sinned like him in taking the last honorable exit. Like in the movie “The Last Samurai,” he did what real warriors do in time of dishonor, no matter how fleeting that moment is. He did a Samurai, that warrior spirit that made Japan what it is today. He chose to be Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto. Now, will Jinggoy and Trillanes do the same?

Or they will choose to be Omura as played by actor Masato Harada?

Can they sing the last line of the Lupang Hinirang “Ang mamatay ng dahil sa yo!” with the same conviction as the true warrior Angelo Reyes did?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Antonio Trillanes IV

Trillanes is at it again. Elected on a platform of a promise of change, the newly freed senator again displayed his real self: arrogant, course, and what have you. Within six hours of Gen Reyes death, he made a very out-of-taste statement (References are all culled from the PDInquirer):

“No definitely not,” Trillanes told reporters when asked if senators should feel responsible for Reyes' death after they grilled him in the Senate over the alleged P50 million send-off money that he received when he retired as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. “Remember that General Reyes is a graduate of PMA [Philippine Military Academy]. He used to be the chief of staff of the AFP so he went through all the pressures necessary to survive those chapters in his life,” he said.

That statement is so stupid in so many counts. But the worst is its timing. He is talking about a person who had just committed suicide. Did he ever paused and thought about the grieving family first before he opened his mouth and once again showed to the world how wrong the 11 million Filipinos who elected him?

And that PMA pressures cap? He must have forgotten that the biggest pressure on a cadet is the pressure of the Honor Code. When one is accused of an honor violation, there is only one way to redeem yourself: resign. This is killing your cadetship dreams. This is what Cadet General Angelo Reyes did in the outside and real world.

Let me refresh the mind of the good senator: “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so.”

Now, Cadet Antonio Trillanes IV, all right, sir?

Angelo Reyes

He did the last remaining honorable exit for him. This was my first reaction when a friend texted me that Angelo Reyes committed suicide. I was then in a bus along EDSA and I asked the bus driver to stop the movie and tune in to the radio. The AM band is unintelligible so I asked him to tune in to 92.3 Radyo Singko in the FM band. I received various texts shortly thereafter, all of them expressing varied opinions.

Suicide as a way out is not new. In most of the developed world, fallen leaders routinely commit suicide once they are implicated in anomalies or even just a shadow of doubt is cast upon their integrity. Where in ancient times up to the modern history the Japanese culture of hara kiri is the most prominent, now, Koreans, Americans, Thais, and the rest of the world were following suit.

The opinions on killing oneself as a means of escape are as diverse as the ways to do it. In Japan, where the means is self decapitation with the help of a second, it is the only way to restore honor for a tarnished samurai. In the movie “The Last Samurai” one of the more prominent lines is the statement of Ken Watanabe “It was a good death.” In modern day Japan, during the financial crisis that hit it in the 60s, the means was jumping out of the window of a skyscraper. So is with the Koreans. The disgraced President Roh jumped to his death after his involvement in a bribery scandal.

Even in the Catholic world, death is not the end all but even the start of something higher. There is that so-called “Prayer for a Happy Death” and ironically, the most prominent devotee of this prayer was a woman named Cory Aquino. It is just a means that is being disputed that within a few hours of Reyes death, a hypocrite Roman Catholic bishop stated that suicide is one of the biggest sins.

How will the death of Reyes affect the current corruption investigation being conducted by the House and the Senate? As I have always maintained during my discourses with friends, the biggest sin committed by all these involved is the sin of omission. They knew that something is wrong with the system yet they did not do anything about it. The practice of conversion is nothing new. Money intended for one thing in the budget is “converted” to cash to be spent in another, presumably more important and more urgent need. In the process, all the agencies involved who were supposed to provide checks and balances on one another must now work in concert to make things happen. The Original end user provides the reason and the most common is “Well, our budget provided us money for salaries (Object Class 01) but what we need are tires, batteries, and gasoline for our vehicles for our combat operations. Let us convert this 01 to cash to buy tires, batteries, and gasoline.” With this explanation, the AFP then converts the 01 money into cash usually by selling the Notice of Cash Allotments from the DBM to the “suppliers” an euphemism for the Mafia that has the connections to all the agencies involved—AFP/PNP, COA, and DBM/DOF. This is a well entrenched system and everybody knows that this is wrong. But who can stop it and how can it be stopped? The first step was made by Gen Efren Abu when he abolished J6 and broke it down into four separate offices providing internal checks and balances. But the reforms need to continue—and this is supposed to be purpose of all these hearings conducted by legislators: in aid of legislation.

The most significant complication that the death of Reyes brought is that the pressure is now on Jinggoy and Trillanes. After all things were said and done, can they now say that they are clean and not as notorious what they wanted to paint Reyes as? Were they all above board in their transactions involving their pork barrels? And especially for Trillanes, can he ask the same question as confidently as Reyes did to people on the know when he said “Naging swapang ba ako?” in light of the Senate Finance Report that he was one of the top-spending senators despite the fact that he was then in detention? What Reyes most probably meant was “Kinuha ko lang ang para sa akin na ibinibigay ng kasalukuyang sistema. Ang kasalanan ko lang ay di ko binagao ang mga mali na inabutan ko.”

What I want to hear in the next few days is the surfacing of an ante mortem statement of Reyes containing something like, “Yes I am guilty of allowing conversion. But among the funds that we converted and cleared were the pork barrels of senators and congressmen who used the AFP as the clearing house and used the return to sender system.” I wonder how many of those who will be named will have the courage to also shoot themselves in the heart?

And by the way, start probing the funds of the PNP. For all you know, that will make the fund mess in the AFP look like a game of tong-its using loose change!

Goodbye General Reyes. I had been one your harshest critics (though anonymous and unknown) in the past. But in one fell swoop (or a bullet in your heart—if you want to be remembered as that), you regained my respect.

My salute sir!

Roberto Rosales vs Arlyn dela Cruz

I saw on TV last night the face off of Arlyn dela Cruz and Dir Roberto Rosales over Channel 2 with Noli de Castro at TV Patrol. The most noticeable thing is the unrepentant stance of dela Cruz despite the conciliatory overtures of Rosales. Once again, the abuse of power of a reporter came to a fore and reared in full display for all the world to see. She even highlighted her arrogance that she kept on talking out of turn even while Rosales was still talking. And in the true tradition of these fearless reporters na walang sinasanto, walang inuurungan, at walang kinatatakutan, the report included the segment showing that she went straight to the police station in Bgy Batasan to put on police blotters the alleged threats that Dir Rosales made against her (at the Multi-Purpose Hall in Camp Crame during a live interview with practically all the networks including the fly-by-night reporters) and that she fears for her life.

Before I go any further, I would like to share to everyone an old information. I kept a copy of a confidential report given to me by a colleague connected with an intelligence agency in Camp Crame. It states:

Reporter Arlyn dela Cruz is keeping hostile feelings against Chief Supt Rosales, the WPD Director because despite the sexual favors she had given to him to the extent that she gifted her with her nieces, Gen Rosales failed to live up to his promise of giving her scoops which should have been expected, given his proximity to President GMA. Also, dela Cruz’s anger at Rosales came to a hilt when Rosales totally dumped her after he found out that her alleged kidnapping by the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan in 2002 was but one of her trysts with her then boyfriend Khadaffy Janjalani.

I dug up this old report from my files after I read the headline story of the Inquirer last Sunday and thought that dela Cruz had not yet gotten over her animosity against Rosales.

Well, that’s life. If she wants as copy of the report, I can show it to her but I will not name my source. And mind you, this is an A1 report from a trusted source and not based on a text message thus I stand by my story.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Garcia, Rabuza, Mendoza

Another blockbuster teleserye is now unfolding on tv these days. I would like to gloat that before all these brouhaha unraveled on tv, I have touched these issues in a previous article "PNP admits breach in discipline" that I posted on January 6, 2011 or about a week before the tv-covered hearings.