Press Release
February 3, 2011

By Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago
(Privilege speech on 25 October 2004)


The Constitution (Art. 2 Sec. 3) provides that: "The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State." Recent revelations about a military general - which seems to be typical of most generals today - seem to indicate an urgent need to amend the Constitution. The corruption level in the military and police is so stratospheric at this time that the Constitution should be amended to state: "The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the predator of the people and the State, and is hence abolished in favor of a citizen's army."

Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, former AFP comptroller but currently chief of AFP plans and programs, is a two-star general with a monthly salary of some P36,000. In 2003, he filed a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth claiming a net worth of some P1.25 million. But according to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, his financial transactions from 2002 to 2004 amounted to some P185.5 million. This amount reportedly does not include the general's other assets, such as his deposits in 40 bank accounts worth US $1.42 million, a house in Ohio, a Park Avenue condominium in New York, valued at $765,000, and a New York apartment valued at $750,000.

At the ongoing investigation by two committees of the House of Representatives, Gen. Garcia has adamantly invoked his right to remain silent. He refuses to say anything, because on its face, things speak for themselves: res ipsa loquitur. But even more to the point, Garcia is part of institutionalized corruption, and anything he might say to exonerate himself, will certainly result in blowing the cover of many incumbent and retired corrupt generals in the military and police. Garcia will not sing solo, because he is part of an operatic performance where costumes, such as uniforms and awards pinned to the chest, serve to hide some of the most hypocritical, meretricious, and lecherous public officers in this corrupt country.

The most important thing is not to punish Garcia, although that would be normally expected in a moral community. The most important thing is to blow the lid off one of the most cold-blooded conspiracies of systematic looting in our country. Garcia was caught and will likely be charged with plunder punishable by death, because of over-confidence. This unfortunate general was over-confident, because he had witnessed for a decade many chiefs of staff and their staff generals getting away with plunder. The chief of staff never got exposed for wrongdoing, because he always saw to it that his successor would be his own protege, one who had already been initiated to the system of corruption, and could be trusted to keep the secrets safe.

This is what happened over the years from the time of martial law, when the PMA mistah system or esprit de corps, was allowed to degenerate into a patron-client relationship where personal ties were allowed to override the constitutionally mandated oath of the soldier to uphold and defend the Constitution, to strengthen the patriotic spirit and nationalist consciousness, to observe professionalism, and to be insulated from partisan politics.

Some chiefs of staff not only succeeded in stashing away a king's ransom in offshore accounts, but even went on to occupy very high civilian positions which, by means of vote fraud and vote buying, they merely purchased by using their stolen wealth. Some of these generals turned politicians ceaselessly try until now to cover themselves with synthetic glory, by using their ill-gotten wealth to continue to publicize themselves. These schizophrenic generals turned politicians pompously issue tiresome comments on national policy issues, even though their education and training on the subject could compete with the expertise of a one-celled amoeba. Garcia was caught, because so many before him were not caught, but were instead lionized in this culture of corruption.

Most, if not all, of the champions of corruption in the military are PMA graduates. They are the military Mafia, the military Mob. They have effectively taken the vow of omerta, or silence. Right now, even as I speak, the Mob is frantically networking among each other and with the media for damage control. Some will employ standard psywar tactics against the very public they were sworn to serve, a public that unknown to them are waiting, not only in quiet desperation, but some with murderous desperation.

The Mob might resort to a diversionary tactic by staging a distraction, to divert public attention from the crimes common to them all. With the help of professionals, they might launch smear campaigns in the media against those who are considered enemies. They might indirectly threaten the tenure in office of President Arroyo. Or, on the contrary, they might feed her with syrupy expressions of allegiance as their commander in chief, to lull her into the belief that they are her lords protector, assimilating themselves to the roles played during medieval times in England under the queen.

The Mob has already agreed to contribute to an emergency slush fund. They could buy Malacañang courtiers, media mercenaries, maybe certain senators and representatives. After all, many things in this country can be bought. The Mob should know, because they are generals for sale.


Syndicated military corruption is carried out by a gang of 12, as follows:

  • Chief of Staff

  • J-1 personnel

  • J-2 intelligence

  • J-3 operations

  • J-4 logistics

  • J-5 plans

  • J-6 comptroller

  • J-7 civil military operations

  • J-8 training

  • J-9 AFP modernization

  • J-10 reservists

  • J-11 communications

Each member of this gang, except J-6, is allocated funds, based on the approved yearly budget for the armed forces. J-6 has no funds of its own, but is the custodian of all AFP funds which it releases on the request of the staff general concerned, with the approval of the chief of staff. Although the bulk of AFP funds are allocated to field units, the release of such funds still passes through general headquarters.

This gang of 12 engage in organized corruption by means of the so-called "clearance and conversion" process. To "clear" an official check for military funds means to fill up all necessary forms, particularly Purchase Orders, with fake entries and signatures, in order to support the encashment of the check. In other words, "clearance" is a euphemism for the crime of falsification of public documents. To "convert" a check means to encash it on the basis of fake documents, and consequently, to divide the cash among the generals concerned, the supplier, the supplier's agent who is usually an attractive female, and - only if absolutely necessary - to the official project. In other words, "conversion" is a euphemism for the crime of malversation of public funds, most often through ghost deliveries, underdeliveries, or overpricing. If the amount involved is over P50 million, then "conversion" is a euphemism for the crime of plunder.

Let me give a concrete example. Suppose that J-1 Personnel diverts a certain sum of money to a geographical command, such as:

  • Northern Luzon Command

  • Southern Luzon Command

  • Central Command Cebu

  • Southern Command Zamboanga

J-6 Comptroller secures from the budget department an official document called SARO (Special Allotment and Release Order), which notifies general headquarters that a cash allocation has been made and is ready for release. After J-1 Personnel receives the SARO, J-1 orders: "Clear this." Consequently, certain Purchase Orders are issued, and in five days, without any delivery, the money is "cleared."

Let's say that the amount involved is P10 million. It would be usually divided as follows:

  • P1.5 million or 15% goes to the supplier, and he shares it with the comptroller, auditor, logistics officer, and members of the Acceptance Committee;

  • P1.5 million or another 15% goes to the local commander, let's say Southcom.

  • P7 million or 70% goes to the chief of staff, who may or may not share it with the rest of the gang of 12.

For many years, perhaps for the last decade, and with few exceptions, each gang of 12 under the various administrations have merrily engaged in the crimes of falsification of public documents, malversation of public funds, and sometimes plunder. They emerged scotfree, because any gang of 12 at any one time made sure that their successors were their personal proteges who could be depended upon to protect the "system." Let me briefly describe the modus operandi of the biggest criminals in the gang of 12:

J-1 Personnel

J-1 Personnel is in charge of salaries, hospitals, and welfare, each with its own special technique for malversation. Salaries are made to appear to have been paid to soldiers who have died, retired, been dismissed, suspended, or are simply fictitious. The welfare funds, instead of being spent for the welfare of soldiers and their families, are allegedly "realigned," a euphemism for cancelling the welfare project and purportedly using the money for another project or activity, which is fictitious.

The biggest anomaly in the office of J-1 Personnel takes place in military hospitals. Medicines are grossly overpriced, but the syndicate concentrates on purchasing only fast-moving drugs, making it very hard to check the inventory and consumption of drugs. Military hospitals are the favorite milking cows of wives of chiefs of staff.

For example, Mrs. COS consents to become the patron of a drug supplier. Mrs. COS contacts the hospital commander to extend the usual courtesies to a certain supplier whom she identifies. "Usual courtesies" is military euphemism for rigging the public bidding for the identified drug supplier. When the supplier duly "wins" the bidding, sometimes he delivers no drugs at all. Instead, Mrs. COS will receive a cash reward of more or less P100 million, which is immediately converted into royalty-size diamonds, luxury vehicles, dance instructors, trips abroad, and even hair no longer colored salt-and-pepper as before, but is now colored orange, red, or other puzzling hues sufficient to declare her status as a corrupt general's wife.

To check that my information is correct, all that should be done is to issue a subpoena duces tecum to the chief of J-1 Personnel, requiring him to submit the following:

  • Program of expenditures;

  • The sum of the allotments, so that the expenditures can be checked against the program;

  • Purchase Orders, particularly identifying the signatures;

  • Inventory, so that it can be checked against the Purchase Orders.

J-2 Intelligence

J-2 Intelligence has a fixed budget, but he can malverse it by "realignment." This word is not found in the dictionary; it is graftspeak for diverting a fund from its official purpose, to another purpose more convenient for malversing the money. The realignment system is carried out with the cooperation of J-6 Comptroller and the COA auditor, each of whom gets his share of graft money. When the money is given, it is usually accompanied by the advice: "Itago mo na yan."

J-3 Operations

J-3 Operations enjoys the unabashed distinction of malversing the biggest amounts of money. It is the Croesus of the kingdom of military corruption. Show me a former J-3 commander, and I'll show you a very rich man. Most military operations proved to be failures, because most operational money goes to conversion. For example, let us say that a Southcom operation has been allocated P3 million. The allotment advice, by expert manipulation, becomes P10 million. The local commander in Mindanao gets his share, and returns the balance in cash to J-3 Operations in Quezon City. Thus, the money is spent, but there has been no operation carried out at all.

The mere continued existence and perhaps growth of the CPP-NPA is indubitable proof that J-3 Operations is a failure. Apparently, GHQ does not even evaluate the counterinsurgency program. During the Aquino administration, Special Operations Teams were set up and for a while, they proved effective. Local communities cooperated in the counterinsurgency effort by providing vital information, such as the identities of rebels. But those communities that cooperated were not rewarded with even basic public services. And so eventually the operation failed. If the CPP-NPA is growing, it is not merely because of poverty in the countryside, but also because of the inefficiency of the AFP.

And one more little reminder. The Constitution (Art. 18 Sec. 24) provides that all paramilitary forces including Civilian Home Defense Forces shall be dissolved. And yet J-3 Operations either ostensibly or actually provides salaries, uniforms, and mobile radios to alleged CAFGU forces (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units).

J-4 Logistics

If J-3 Operations is the richest source of graft, J-4 Logistics is the most conspicuous venue for graft. At any given working day, the J-4 office is filled with Filipino-Chinese dealers, sexy and trashy women, and the special friends of the wives of corrupt generals. They are all wheeling and dealing to supply office supplies and equipment; ammunition; trucks, batteries, and tires; uniforms; and mobile radios, which are notoriously the biggest expense in logistics.

Malversation of funds is conducted with the cooperation of the Acceptance Committee. J-4 Logistics is ran entirely by military officers, with the COA auditor as the only civilian. The poor man cannot lick them, so he joins them.

J-6 Comptroller

As the current case of the unflappable Gen. Garcia shows, all staff generals are beholden to the Comptroller, because he controls the release of funds. He receives from the Department of Budget and Management, money in the form of paper, and he releases it in the form of another paper called Sub Allotment Advice. Anyhow, whether paper or cash, when money passes, part of it always remains stuck to his hands. He is not Mr. Scissorhands; he is Mr. Gluehands. Money sticks to his hands like glue.

J-6 Comptroller has power to realign military funds, provided the chief of staff issues the necessary order. Somehow I suffer the suspicion that the extremely close ties between the comptroller and the chief of staff exceed the bounds of religious fellowship. From a legal overview, it appears that if the comptroller is guilty of malversation, the chief of staff is also automatically guilty of the same crime, for one cannot strategize without the other.

I also suspect that the J-6 Comptroller is very, very careful to cultivate incoming service commanders. In fact, he has made an entire career out of it.

J-7 Civil Military Operations

J-7 CMO is the office where the system of "clearing" money is the easiest to follow. For example, suppose that J-6 Comptroller asks J-7 CMO to "clear" money. For this purpose, the working arm of J-7 CMO is the Civil Relations Service, or CRS, which possesses institutional expertise for forging or padding the necessary military forms. CRS gets 3% for every signature, plus an added 2% from the dealer. I understand that CRS is tasked with raising at least P25 million, whenever a chief of staff retires. This illegal and immoral farewell gift is squeezed from dealers, suppliers, contractors, and the rest of the clientele of the Mob.

J-11 Communications

This office makes money by purchasing obsolete electronic equipment, in order to accommodate a dealer capable of coming across with the bribe demanded by the general or his wife. Some of its techniques include purchasing analogue instead of digital equipment; overpricing digital equipment; or concluding a purchase that provides no after-sales service.


Only institutionalized, syndicated, Mob-style corruption can explain why, according to the Commission on Audit, as of 31 December 2003, the military has incurred total unliquidated cash advances of P1.448 billion. We in Congress have been supporting armed forces who are not protectors but predators of the people, who have plundered our already pitiful treasury by filling our lives with a proliferation of ghosts, namely:

  • Ghost CAFGUs.

  • Ghost employees.

  • Ghost veterans.

  • Ghost inventories, that have been allegedly "dormant" or "in transit" for more than 10 years.

  • Ghost property, plant, and equipment, that have never undergone a physical count.

The basis for this population of ghosts is explained in accounting terms in the 2-page Annex to this paper.


In his 1988 book Corruption and the Decline of Rome, Ramsay MacMullen, professor of classics and history at Yale University, observes that the decline of Rome became an accomplished fact, when the army became corrupt. Quoting the classics, he gives a vivid description of the corrupt Roman soldiers, which sounds eerily descriptive of Filipino generals today:

they were, especially at this time, a species of men vicious, venal, cunning, factious, grasping, and as if forced by nature to cheat and conceal their cheating. They ruled over the (army) food supply, they were thereby the ruin of the suppliers of necessities and the fortunes of the farmers, and they also proved shrewd in bestowing gifts at the right moment on these people by undue stupidity, and at whose expense, they gathered in their wealth.

In view of what appears to be the predatory character of the military today, coupled with the anarchic rapacity of some generals, I move to refer this speech to the following committees:

1. Committee on Finance, to ensure that the 2005 budget for the AFP will contain provisions to prevent falsification of public documents, malversation of public funds, and plunder, by, among others, the following means:

  • Prompt accounting and liquidation of cash advances;

  • Immediate conduct of physical inventory and corresponding update of subsidiary ledgers;

  • Prompt financial report from the National Disaster Coordinating Council;

  • A technical formula for the proper costing of military buildings and those constructed by the military;

  • Tight control and monitoring of purchases made by special disbursing officers;

  • Prevention of erroneous classification of accounts;

  • Provision for combat expenses that will be immediately available; and

  • Banning suppliers, contractors, dealers or their agents from the premises of J-4 Logistics.

2. Committee on Defense and Security, for an inquiry in aid of legislation, particularly amendments to R.A. No. 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act; and Executive Order No. 235, Streamlining the Rules and Procedures of Defense Contracts. Such an inquiry, which could be conducted by an independent commission, should use as its basic working paper the 2003 COA Report on the DND, particularly Part 3 entitled "Comments and Observations," with special focus on the portion headed "Findings and Recommendations."

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