DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/8 Feb) – Nobody he could respect came to his public defense. Days later, he died alone and unaided, bringing to his grave the answers to the questions that by now most everyone wants to know. Ultimate denial is ultimate control.
The late Angelo Reyes went home to his mother today, sent off by his unknowing family and aide. He was indeed a man who was not afraid to die in pursuit of something he held to be of higher value than his life. Whatever value he held highest, it could not be denied that while he was under fire in his dying days, he wished not to cause his family, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Military Academy further borrowed humiliation.
I hope Angelo Reyes did not die in vain.
His untimely death today denies us the target of our hysterical demand for accountability of alleged specific graft and corrupt acts that characterized the higher command of the AFP during his term. So now we are forced to turn our sights on the nature of these corrupt practices, and I suggest that is what needs to be done. We shouldn’t lose sight of the original question: How was the AFP coffers bled by the Comptroller boys? The answer to that is important because only when we understand how the bagmen were and are able to do magic can we make sure that the check-and-balance mechanisms we put in place would indeed prove effective.
In an earlier column I filed days ago (see General accounting), I opined that Reyes may not indeed know the specifics as to how the dirty deeds were accomplished. Practices such as conversion and return-to-sender (RTS) were specialty skills in the domain of the comptroller boys, such as George Rabusa, Antonio Lim, and Antonio Trillanes IV. We are in luck that Rabusa, Lim, and Trillanes are still there in the forum where these questions are raised. As former Comptroller boys, they have privileged information on these matters. They are there and ready to answer the questions that Reyes could not. Let’s make them.
(Hmmm. And maybe while Trillanes answers his own questions, he could also do an accounting of the funds used for Oakwood in 2003.)
Trillanes could answer his own questions because he wrote a thesis on this. The reason why Trillanes is mounting this inquiry on the AFP pre-Oakwood budget scam is because he is the expert at how corruption there is done. He knows what questions to ask in order to make the rest of us understand. That Senate hearing on pasalubong and pabaon to commanding generals is not only about calling expert witnesses. Don’t look now, but it also is about experts comparing notes.
Ah, but these upstarts have never been able to play Reyes well enough – whether while sucking up to him or trying to bring him down. They never played him well enough to get the upper hand. Trillanes and biggest RTS senators, for their part, have tried and tried, but haven’t been able to dislodge Reyes until he decided to come down. Today, Reyes shows them that, again, there is more than just one way to demonstrate ultimate control.
Sorry, Sonny, you still lose.
(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan’s column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] “Send at the risk of a reply,” she says.)