MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of Philippines chief General Carlito Galvez Jr said the corruption probe into the military’s main hospital has yet to be completed and involves up to P200 million worth of contracts.
Galvez ordered a revamp at the AFP Medical Center to address what he called “systemic corruption,” he said in a press briefing Mondayafternoon, August 13.
“We need to cleanse the institution. I have no tolerance for corruption,” Galvez said.
Malacañang on Monday morning announced the dismissal of AFP Medical Center commander Brigadier General Leo Torrelavega and 19 other officials. They were charged with violation of Articles of War and will face court martial.
The Malacañang announcement involves 5 contracts worth P1.49 million. Galvez said 12 other contracts are in advanced stages of investigation, bringing the total money involved so far to P17 million.
But he said he has ordered the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) to probe more contracts that would bring the total money involved to “P100 million to P200 million,” said Galvez.
“Ang ISAFP mayroon silang mga ini-investigate pa. For example, may equipment na worth P40 million, i-peg nila nang P60 million. Pero hindi pa ‘yun [proven],” said Galvez.
(ISAFP is still investigating other contracts. For example, there is an equipment that is actually worth P40 million but they will peg it at P60 million. Although it has not been proven.)
The military refused to provide details of the contracts, but these involve medical supplies, medicines, and equipment.
Torrelavega is the classmate of Galvez in the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985. “It is lonely [being AFP chief],” said Galvez, saying he was saddened by the involvement of his “mistah” (classmate).
Galvez said his mistah was guilty by “command responsibility.” “As commander, he should be knowledgable of what his command is doing. The failure of the command is also his failure,” said Galvez.
Galvez said the probe was triggered by a complaint forwarded by the Office of the President in May regarding alleged “ghost deliveries” and “irregular transactions.” He ordered Isafp to conduct a discreet investigation.
Galvez said he also discovered how soldiers wounded in Marawi had not been getting the medical attention they needed. Galvez, who led the military operations in Marawi as former chief of the Western Mindanao Command, had been closely monitoring soldiers wounded in the battled.
He said the result of the Isafp investigation was forwarded to the Inspector General in June and to Malacañang in August, prompting the announcement on Monday.
“It was an extensive report,” he said.
Galvez said the corruption at the AFP Medical Center is systemic.
He said there is no transparency and check and balance at the AFP Medical Hospital because the same officers who prepare the annual procurement budget are also manning the canvass and acceptance committees.
“As I said during my Assumption of Command as 50th AFP Chief of Staff, I will have zero tolerance for corruption. I will only allow transparency, meritocracy, justice, judgment, and leadership by example to prevail in our ranks,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the contracts date back to 2016 but was executed only in 2017.
“The infraction was made since 2016 and even beyond. The problem is very systemic, meaning the system is very flawed,” said Galvez.
“The case will be tried under the military justice system and the accused will [face] court martial proceedings, where they will be given the opportunity to be heard,” said Galvez. – Rappler.com
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