By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said that he and other Defense officials fully support the anti-corruption measures set by President Rodrigo Duterte and his campaign to rid government of erring officials.
This after the Chief Executive ordered the relief and court martial proceedings against top military brass, which includes Brig. Gen. Edwin Leo Torrelavega, the Commander of the AFP Health Service Command; Col Antonio Punzalan, the Commander of the V. Luna Medical Center; the Chiefs of Management and Fiscal Office (MFO) and the Logistics Office (OHC) of the AFPHSC, among others.
“The relief of the AFP officials involved in the highly questionable transactions at the AFP Health Service Command (AFPHSC) was a result of an internal investigation which was initiated by the Defense and military establishments. A parallel investigation was also conducted by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission,” Lorenzana said.
“It is unfortunate that this happened at a time when the DND and AFP enjoys the trust and confidence of the Filipino people. We will ensure that those responsible will be held fully accountable for their actions,” he added.
Lorenzana said the investigations of the other individuals who might possibly be involved are still ongoing.
“We assure the public that the DND and AFP are sensitive to irregularities such as these and vow to continue safeguarding our institution against similar incidents in the future,” Lorenzana said.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, said it was brought to the President’s attention that alleged corruption activities have been taking place at the V. Luna Medical Center.
He said the President has since read the reports of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez.
He said based on the reports, several high-ranking officials and employees of V. Luna Medical Center, Health Service Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFPHSC) undertook anomalous purchases of equipment and engaged in fraudulent transactions, including ghost-purchasing, splitting of contracts to circumvent mandatory bidding processes, and conceiving fictitious suppliers.
Roque said this is the reason why President Duterte ordered the relief and court martial proceedings against the top military brass.