MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE 2) Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes had allegedly received some P50 million "pabaon" (send-off) money when he retired in 2001, a witness at a Senate hearing revealed on Thursday.
Reyes, who was also present at the Senate blue ribbon hearing, was military chief from 1999 to 2001. He was appointed Defense chief from 2001 to 2003.
The revelation was made by his former budget officer, Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, who suddenly appeared at the hearing called to look into the plea bargain deal government prosecutors had entered into the plunder case of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.
Rabusa, accompanied by lawyer Noel Malaya, was presented to the hearing by Senator Jose ?Jinggoy? Estrada, while he was questioning Reyes about an alleged ?pabaon? system in the military.
On Estrada's query if he was aware of the ?pabaon? system in the military, Rabusa said yes, although he said it was not called ?pabaon.?
?Upon retirement we give some amount to the retiring Chief of Staff,? he said.
In the case of Reyes, Rabusa said it was a ?bigger amount.?
Pressed by Estrada if he had any estimate of the money given to Reyes, Rabusa said, ?Probably not less than P50 million.?
?We brought the money your honor in the quarters of the Chief Staff in GHQ [General Headquarters] at Camp Aguinaldo that we call ?White House?,? he said.
Rabusa said the P50 million was sourced from the Provision for Command Directed Activities (PCDA) fund contributed by military officials.
He said the PCDA fund was P40 million a month or P480 million a year, which was ?readily available at the disposal of the Chief off Staff.
Aside from the P50 million ?send-off? money for Reyes' retirement, Rabusa said then Chief of Staff had also been receiving P5 million a month, and another P5 million for his staff. The same was also sourced from the PCDA.
Rabusa said other military officials also received at least P1 million a month. Rabusa himself admitted that he also received at least P500,000.
?Kapag kayo nag-aabot ng pera halimabawa kay General Reyes, kay General [Carlos] Garcia, hindi ka ba binabalatuhan?? Estrada asked.
Reyes faced the Senate to answer allegations that he was behind Garcia when the former military comptroller allegedly amassed P303 million worth of bank accounts and properties.