The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was embroiled in a corruption scandal in early 2011 after its former budget officer George Rabusa testified in a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee of the pabaon (send-off money) system. The pabaon system refers to the money given to a retiring chief of staff as send-off money. The money used for pabaon system was derived from funds which were diverted to retiring chiefs of staff. The way the money was diverted was uncovered by Commission on Audit auditor Heidi Mendoza when she testified on a House of Representatives Committee on Justice.
Generals Jacinto Ligot and Carlos Garcia, who were the AFP’s comptrollers when the system was in place, were detained; however, the Office of the Ombudsman went into a plea bargaining agreement with Garcia, in the government withdrew their cases against him as they contended the evidence was weak.
Rabusa testified that all of the AFP chiefs of staff were recipients of send-off money; they all denied knowingly receiving such send-off money. Angelo Reyes, one of the accused recipients, committed suicide as he was compelled by Congress to testify on the matter.
1 Rabusa’s testimony
2 Mendoza’s testimony
3 See also
The House Committee on Justice and Senate Blue Ribbon Committee conducted hearings on the plea bargaining agreement of the Office of the Ombudsman and retired General Carlos Garcia who has a plunder suit in the Sandiganbayan (special court for government officials). On January 26, retired Col. George Rabusa exposed the alleged pabaon or send-off system in the military, which gives at least PHP50 million (USD1.1 million) to retiring chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Rabusa said he gave not less than 50 million pesos to Gen. Angelo Reyes when he retired.
On January 30, Rabusa further said that former AFP chiefs of staff Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu were also given send-off money. The payoffs, done monthly, were also given to vice, deputy and secretary to the joint chiefs of staff. Rabusa had been given by his comptrollers, Jacinto Ligot then Carlos Garcia, discretion on how to utilize the provisions for command-directed activities (PCDA), and these were given as send-off money to the generals.
On the next Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, Rabusa said that he delivered at least PHP160 million to Garcia, who ordered him to withdraw PHP10 million 16 times. Rabusa concluded that Garcia sh