Revelations of large-scale AFP corruption infuriates foot soldiers and people

In doubling the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Noynoy Aquino has multiplied the opportunities for corruption for top military officials.

Ang Bayan Editorial staff
Communist Party of the Philippines

The revelations of former AFP budget officer ex-Lt. Col. George Rabusa that incoming and outgoing top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received hundreds of millions of pesos in "pasalubong,” “pabaon" and more “perks” expose the long-running system of large-scale corruption in the highest echelons of command in the reactionary government’s armed forces. Further details of bribery, overpricing, juggling and transfers of funds to private accounts and other methods of thievery have been provided by Rabusa, former government auditor Heidi Mendoza and other witnesses.

Their testimonies before the Senate and House of Representatives have been filled with factual and detailed revelations about the systematic large-scale plunder of public funds by top military officials.

The exposés by Rabusa and others confirm what the Filipino people have known all along. Such large-scale corruption, involving up to billions of pesos pocketed by top military officials has repeatedly incited the AFP’s junior officers and rank-and-file to rebel in past decades and is now fomenting unrest again among them.

The large-scale corruption and luxurious lifestyles of top government military officials and their families have always hit a sensitive nerve among the AFP's foot soldiers and junior officers who bear the brunt of reduced and delayed salaries; unpaid life insurance; lack of housing, medical, pension and other social benefits; theft of their combat rations and substandard field equipment bought with huge kickbacks. Even funds from foreign agencies for “peace-keeping missions” to other countries have not escaped the plunderous greed of top military officials.

The rank-and-file and junior officers resent the most their top officials’ siphoning of huge funds meant for operations, weapons and command-related expenses in order to pocket them, leaving the ordinary foot soldiers to suffer deprivations in the field.

Widespread demoralization exists among the middle and lower ranks of the AFP, not only because such mega-plunderers are in command, but also because rank-and-file and junior officers are the ones being used as cannon fodder in a losing war. Their demoralization worsens as they realize they are defending a system that is rotten to the core and abused by their commanders and government officials at the expense of the foot soldiers and the ordinary people.

The revelations of the past days are worsening and spreading the demoralization. The AFP leadership's new "whole-of-the-nation" and “humanitarian approach” rhetoric carries no weight in the face of the colossal corruption of those who mouth such slogans.

The Filipino people are growing impatient over the the Aquino regime's lack of decisive measures to punish the plunderers and corrupt government and military officials of the past regime, and to put a stop to corruption in the military and the bureaucracy. In doubling the budget of the AFP, Aquino has even multiplied the opportunities for corruption for top military officials.

After more than six months since assuming power on a platform of “anti-corruption“ and “change,” the Aquino regime has yet to make Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts in the bureaucracy and military establishment face capital criminal charges for long-standing cases of electoral fraud, large-scale corruption and plunder of public funds perpetrated during her almost decade-long rule. Several pro-Arroyo generals, like Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, were long ago exposed as having played crucial roles in dirty jobs, including the rigging the 2004 elections.

Instead of being prosecuted and punished, Arroyo is getting away with murder and having a heydey under the Aquino regime, receiving large amounts of funds as a member of Congress, and protected with favorable decisions from a Supreme Court and an Ombudsman dominated by her appointees.

There can be no rectification of past crimes without true accounting and punishment of the top criminals in the government and military. Failing to do so, the Aquino regime is only further engendering the culture of impunity that breeds criminals among the top bureaucrats and military officials and emboldens them to carry on with the plunder of the people's coffers.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in expressing disgust over the continuing large-scale corruption by top officials of the AFP and the reactionary puppet government. The CPP urges the people to demand a comprehensive accounting of the crimes of top officials and the punishment of all those who have plundered public funds. The CPP enjoins the people to unite against corruption and hold the past and present puppet reactionary regimes and their top officials accountable for their gargantuan bureaucrat capitalist abuses against the people.

The CPP calls on the rank-and-file of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to turn their back against the abuses and fascism of the AFP/PNP and against the cruel and dirty war being waged against the Filipino people. Most of them come from the toiling masses and only joined the military and police in desperate search for employment. The rotten system lorded over by the plunderers and big thieves in the AFP and government is not worth dying for.

The CPP calls on all revolutionary forces to intensify efforts to touch base with the AFP and PNP rank-and-file and paramilitary forces and encourage them to join the movement of patriotic soldiers and policemen in the tradition of Lt. Crispin Tagamolila.

As the people's war continues to intensify in the next few years, the CPP anticipates more and more junior officers and ordinary soldiers and police to join in the fight against the rotten, corrupt and fascist ruling system, turn against the people’s abusers, and help put up a real armed forces of the Filipino people.