Monday, October 11, 2004

NR1011:On AFP's lobbying work

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 1 1, 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran questions lobbying practices of the AFP; supports investigations
into Garcia's unexplained wealth and Robles' allegations

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today questioned the practice of
allowing the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct lobbying in the House
of Representatives. This he floated in the wake of the reports another Garcia
is involved in corruption schemes, this time involving the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and certain unnamed legislators. Beltran expressed agreement
with reports that full-blown Congressional investigations should be made into
the records and dealings of Maj.Gen. Carlos Garcia , a former AFP comptroller
now facing investigations for alleged unexplained wealth running millions of
pesos. He said that by investigatring Garcia, a paper trail could be
established that will lead to his unknown bosses.

"Without debate, lobbying especially when done by cause oriented groups and
people's organizations is legal and aboveboard; but given the fact that
effective, thorough and shall we say convincing lobbying can only take place
with the use of a lot of cold, hard cash makes the practice odious. If the AFP
already has millions to spread around in pursuit of its various legislative or
military agenda, then that's one more reason why the budget for defense should
be slashed," he said.

Beltran said that it came as an unpleasant surprise that the AFP still conducts
its own lobbying campaign. "The AFP already has reliable spokespersons in
Congress who support its legislative agenda and even defend the various
atrocities committed by the AFP against civilians in the conduct of its
operations in the provinces. The AFP lobby is clearly to further jack the
budget for the AFP and ensure smooth and swift approval for the various
appointees it's pushing for various positions. Who the solons the AFP approach
should also be made known - the so-called AFP patrons," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that there was clearly a lot of
unexplained wealth floating around, changing hands in the higher offices of the
military and civilian bureauracy. He also said the explanation that Garcia's
task to handle money as 'lobby fund' to convince senators and congressmen to
approve certain contracts or appointments was legal was 'unconscionable.'

Beltran said that the accusations against Garcia were serious and if the truth
ferreted out, could well rock the AFP and even Congress to their very
foundations. "Yet another mystery man who seems to be running major errands
for very powerful and influential people who are in the military and the
legislative branch. Garcia should be made to give his full testimony and the
investigations not left hanging unresolved. We're talking about millions of
pesos here, and as to how he managed to get his hands on such wealth is highly
intriguing. Who is he running errands for and what exactly are his functions
for his as-yet-unknown bosses?," he said.

Malacanang in the dark?

He also said that the expose regarding Garcia and the revelations made by
retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles that US authorities were investigating two
generals and three Cabinet-Level officials apart from Garcia for supposedly
maintaining massive bank accounts in the US should be investigated to the last.
He called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Pres. Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo herself to demand reports from the appropriate US authorities
regarding the unnamed Filipino military and cabinet officials being
investigated for unexplained wealth.

"Since there is the illusion that the US treats the Philippines as a close
friend and ally, then it should only be expected that the US authorities
would have already made it known to Malacanang and the AFP who these officials
are. Otherwise, Malacanang should speak out against being kept in the dark over
such a shocking and controversial issue," he said.#


Post a Comment

<< Home