MANILA, Philippines?They've only just begun.
Besides investigating former armed forces chief Angelo Reyes, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Saturday that the Department of Justice will also investigate his predecessors and other military officials "as far back as the evidence will take us."
"If that is where the evidence will point to, yes, the probe will cover other chiefs of staff (besides) Angelo Reyes, and for that matter, other military officers, as far back as the evidence will take us," De Lima said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, a former military budget officer, earlier this week told the Senate that Reyes, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, received over P150 million, including P50 million in ?send-off money? when he retired.
On Friday, he told the Inquirer that he was preparing an affidavit detailing a $2 million fraudulent military deal and would implicate former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a member of the House of Representatives.
Given the "range and magnitude" of the corruption scams Rabusa is expected to expose, De Lima said that the multiple investigations being conducted by the DoJ, the Department of National Defense, and Congress were welcome.
"While the possibility of variant results is always there, I believe that the existence of several probes by different institutions would yield real benefits or advantages rather than disadvantages," De Lima said.
These advantages include the "fuller ventilation of facts/issues and wider breadth of perspectives."
De Lima on Friday said the DoJ and the National Bureau of Investigation will look into Rabusa's allegations and determine if there was enough evidence to file charges in court.
"Note that while each body has a distinct thrust for its investigative work on this latest scandal (Congress?in aid of legislation, DND?fixing internal processes, DoJ/NBI?possible prosecution), the common goal is truth and accountability," De Lima said.
"Given the range and magnitude of the anomalies expected to be uncovered, and the personalities implicated or to be implicated, following the initial salvo of Colonel Rabusa, the separate proceedings in Congress and the DND would partake of venues for speedier gathering of facts and evidence, and to be shared with each other, and with the DoJ, ultimately for purposes of prosecution," she said.
"In that sense, one can say that the DoJ/NBI probe is the most crucial for accountability purposes," De Lima added.