HomeCommentaryRetired generals to BBM: 'probe plunderers, stop corruption'

Retired generals to BBM: ‘probe plunderers, stop corruption’

Plundering lawmakers must be shaking in their boots. They’re targeted in an anti-corruption petition circulating in chat groups of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduates.

The petition addresses President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. It asks him to investigate “the 20 senators and 100 congressmen listed in the affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles in connection with the pork barrel scam.”

The Sandiganbayan in 2021 convicted Napoles for P10 billion in plundered Priority Development Assistance Fund. For more than a decade she devised fake projects and beneficiaries so lawmakers could pocket pork barrels.

Napoles also fronted lawmakers to steal P728 million in supposed fertilizer subsidies and P900 million in Malampaya gas field royalties.

The petition also seeks Marcos’ elimination of corruption that eats up 20 percent of annual national budgets. Among several steps: withhold release of pork barrels, unprogrammed funds, and unnecessary travel expenses; reduce confidential-intelligence funds; remove overpaid and useless government positions; practice austerity.

Twenty-three retired generals and colonels have signed the petition so far. Active duty officers are proscribed from political actions.

The petition was first posted Dec. 30th in the biggest Viber group of PMA grads, with 1,174 participants. It spread to other online chat groups of active duty and retired grads.

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Signatories and their PMA batches are Col. Salvador B. Calanoy IV, ’84; Lt. Gen. Isidro S. Lapeña, ’73; Lt. Col. Alexander Quirante, ’72; Capt. Ephraim Rio, ’73; Brig. Gen. Roberto Santiago, ’68; Commo. Justo Manlongat, ’69; Col. Hector Tarrazona, ’68;

Rear Adm. Rufino Lopez, ’74; Brig. Gen. Carlito Gamit, ’74; Maj. Gen. Alphonsus Crucero, ’74; Brig. Gen. Errol T. Pan, ’74; Col. Ricky dela Paz, ’74; Lt. Col. Oscar Mallabo, ’74; Brig. Gen. Roland Rodriguez, ’74; Capt. Winston G. Arpon, ’64; Col. Alfonso O. Rivera, ’66;

Brig. Gen. Aaron Fidel, ’79; Maj. Gen. Ramsey L. Ocampo, ’70; Capt. Rafael Enriquez, ’57; Commo. Vicente Buenaventura, ’57; Maj. Gen. Gil Meneses, ’80; Brig. Gen. Oscar Cabaron, ’68; Col. Ernesto P. Benitez Jr., ’82.

“With all due respect,” they “suggest” to Marcos Jr. that (excerpted):

“(1) The 2024 national expenditure program match the projected P4,184.4 billion 2024 national revenues.

“This can be done. Eliminate corruption that eats up 20 percent of annual budgets, pork barrel under different names, P450-billion unprogrammed fund, unnecessary travel expenses;

“Reduce intelligence and confidential funds, remove overpaid and unnecessary positions, sell perennial losing government-owned and -controlled corporations, have more public-private partnerships to lessen kickbacks, and practice austerity in all government offices.

“With total P6,776.5-billion projected deficits in 2023-2028, unbelievable annual GDP growth rate of 7.3 percent for six years, and 11.5-percent annual increase in our national budget for six years, our government likely will go bankrupt before the end of your term. Central Bank was bankrupt when your family left the Philippines in 1986.

“(2) Implementation of Maharlika Investment Corp. be stopped, and the P50 billion and P25 billion of Landbank and DBP, respectively, be immediately returned to them.

“As economists pointed out, the MIC is unjustifiable because government does not have excess funds and its investment portfolio is highly speculative. Salaries and pensions of all government employees are deposited in Landbank. Any adverse development will panic us.

“(3) Finance Sec. and Landbank chairman Benjamin Diokno be fired immediately for investing P50 billion of Landbank’s equity in MIC. He violated the single investment ceiling and compromised the stability of Landbank.

“In addition, he insulted military and other uniformed personnel and trivialized their roles as defenders of the country. This diminished their trust and confidence in our government and your leadership.

“(4) All the 20 senators and 100 congressmen listed in the affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles in connection with the pork barrel scam be investigated. Napoles is now in prison. For fairness and justice, the erring senators and congressmen should not be treated above the law.

“We voted different presidential candidates in May 2022 Elections. Now we are one in wishing you success because your success is our success, and your failure is also our failure. May God give you more wisdom and discernment as you lead us during these critical and challenging times.”

Other points were addressed to Congress, namely, that:

• “[The seven] incumbent senators and [yet uncounted] congressmen [in Napoles’ list] be made to go under preventive suspension, without pay and allowances, until the investigation is over.

“Congress was called ‘the Philippines’ biggest criminal syndicate’ in the Dec. 30, 2013 issue of BizNews Asia. Congress is the top obstacle to the progress of our country.

• “Reduce allowances of different committees in Congress.”

Jarius Bondoc is an award-winning Filipino journalist and author based in Manila. He writes opinion pieces for The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon and hosts a radio program on DWIZ 882 every Saturday. Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS News.

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