Press Release
May 16, 2009

Trillanes welcomes AFP Probe on Balikatan 'corruption'

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV welcomed the announcement made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that no less than its Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado, will head the formal investigation regarding the allegations by Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian that senior military officers pocketed over P40 million in funds in the RP-US Balikatan exercises two years ago.

Trillanes, a former Navy officer who also expressed grievances against corruption in the AFP during the so-called "Oakwood Incident" says this development could be a departure from previous AFP positions of trying to cover-up the wrongdoings of its senior officers. "This will be a good opportunity for Gen. Ibrado to show the public that he is determined to cleanse the ranks of the AFP. But the investigation must be transparent, comprehensive and impartial in order to be credible. There should be no sacred cows," he said.

"I can empathize with Lt. Gadian; we have been through that situation before. I only hope that she is safe. The AFP, as much as the public, should be interested in hearing her story," Trillanes added.

Trillanes recalled that this was the common complaint of AFP units who participate in Balikatan exercises. "The counterpart funds released by the AFP to participating units are often delayed until after the actual exercises. As a result, the units resort to borrowing supplies from their American counterparts. Thereafter, the 'cleared' funds are often pocketed by AFP commanders through 'conversion,' he added.

Gadian, who has been ordered arrested for desertion and insubordination, earlier volunteered to provide the Senate with documents supporting her claim that retired Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo used the month-long Balikatan in Jolo, Sulu as a 'milking cow.' Of the P46 million provided by the Americans, only P2.3 million was released to Filipino soldiers, she disclosed. Cedo, then chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), has denied the allegations.

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