Press Release
April 17, 2013

Jinggoy dismayed over Ombudsman decision on 'pabaon' scam

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada expressed dismay over the recent decision of the Ombudsman, which recommended the dismissal of plunder charges against former military officials involved in the so-called "pabaon" scam.

"All our efforts were put to naught by this recommendation by the Office of the Ombudsman," said Estrada, who vigorously led a Senate Blue Ribbon inquiry on the alleged misappropriated military funds.

"This is a set back in our yearning to professionalize the military service," the senator added.

Estrada expressed fears that this pabaon tradition might continue in the Armed Forces because of the Ombudsman's recommendation.

"Millions of pesos in taxpayers' money are lost due to this highly questionable practice of giving 'send-off' gifts," he said. "The money could have been used to equip our soldiers, who continue to endure the harsh elements while facing internal and external armed threats."

Estrada was reacting to the Ombudsman's recent dismissal of the plunder charges filed by retired Col. George Rabusa against three former Armed Forces chiefs, 14 other top-ranking military officials and five civilians who worked for the military, in connection with billions of pesos of alleged misappropriated funds in the AFP.

Rabusa was one of the key witnesses of Estrada in the Senate hearings that resulted to the discovery of the controversial practice of giving excessive amount of money amounting to millions of pesos as "exit gifts" or "pabaon" among the outgoing ranking military officials.

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