Press Release
January 31, 2011


Senator Chiz Escudero told former Armed Forces chief of staff Angelo Reyes to quit resorting to squid tactics in his bid to extricate himself from allegations by his former subordinate that he enriched himself while in office.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, said Reyes should face the music instead of filing graft charges against former Lt. Col. George Rabusa, who once worked as a budget officer with the AFP, and Senator Jinggoy Estrada to get back at them.

"These charges are simply knee-jerk reactions to the charges thrown into the former secretary's way. This is retaliatory in nature; it is a futile attempt to put up a smoke screen between him and the grave issues surrounding his stint at the AFP," Escudero said.

Reyes has filed graft charges against his two accusers before the Office of the Ombudsman. In his affidavit, the embattled former military chief accused Rabusa and Estrada of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Reyes also claimed that Rabusa and Estrada violated Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly offering false testimony against him during the Senate hearing last week.

Escudero said instead of clouding the issue, Reyes should "confront and address the allegations against him squarely."

The senator said over the weekend that the non-categorical denial of "I cannot remember" by the former AFP chief about the P50 million "pabaon" or send-off gift was not enough and could in fact be considered an admission of guilt.

"It is impossible to forget if someone handed you P50 million unless of course a lot of people gave him P50 million or more, too," Escudero pointed out.

Escudero also challenged all previous chiefs of staff to come out to either deny or admit the existence of "pabaon" tradition during their time.

He said the Senate blue ribbon committee should extend its investigation to former military chiefs in order to put a stop to this illegal practice.

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