servants should handle AFP funds – Romulo
QUEZON CITY –
Non-uniformed career civil servants should directly supervise the
quality of financial reporting and accounting in the Armed Forces,
House Deputy Majority Leader and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said
"This is one way to
curb the rampant misuse of military funds that is depriving our foot
soldiers and their ground officers the full support that they need in
the field," Romulo said.
In the military,
Romulo noted that soldiers are strictly taught to obey and comply
first and ask questions later, or not ask questions at all.
circumstances, with uniformed personnel looking after military funds,
they are under the total control of their superior officers," Romulo
He said lower-ranking
officers who defy their superiors would be extremely vulnerable to
trumped-up court martial proceedings, or to summary field
Romulo said the
proposal to allow non-uniformed civil servants to oversee military
funds was first advanced by former Armed Forces Chief of Staff and
retired Gen. Narciso Abaya in February last year.
"There is wisdom is
General Abaya's proposal. Those handling the funds should not be
directly under the military's chain of command, which is absolute,"
"This way, they will
not be under any undue pressure to illegally release or divert funds,
or make unwarranted purchases," he said.
Romulo made the
statement amid reports of hundreds of millions of pesos in "missing"
Former military budget
officer and retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa earlier also claimed that
newly promoted as well as retiring chiefs of staff have been illicitly
getting multimillion-peso cash gifts out of a slush fund.
"The more relevant
question now is whether the practice of giving welcome and send-off
cash gifts persists to this day," Romulo said.
He added: "Who was the
last newly designated chief of staff to receive a welcome cash gift?
And who was the last retiring chief of staff to receive a golden
"This is totally
unacceptable – that our troops in the front have to endure the lack of
weapons, basic protection gear and even food provisions, on account of
the unchecked misappropriation of military funds," Romulo said.
In pushing for the
enlistment of non-uniformed personnel to run the military's
accounting, disbursement and purchasing processes, Abaya had said that
the culture of confidentiality and an "old boys network" were to blame
for the financial irregularities in the Armed Forces.
Abaya had also
lamented that "in the military service, graft and corruption take its
toll on the lives of soldiers and on the accomplishments of the