2 February 2010
“When Heidi Mendoza risked her life and career by attesting to the plunder of public funds of the military generals, two things were made clear, among others: that a bold conviction in the truth trumps over fear, and that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is not only a bastion of human rights violators but of thieves in uniforms as well.”
Thus said Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi-Karapatan (an association of women human rights defenders), as former Commission on Audit auditor Mendoza yesterday detailed the money trail of Garcia who stands accused of plundering P303 million from government funds, including the questionable use of $5 million allegedly from funds given by the United Nations for peacekeeping operations of the AFP.
“The Philippine military has always been a bastion of crime and corruption. The very institution that has vowed to protect and serve the Filipino people is appallingly the same one that violates their rights, steals from them and aggravates their poverty. Mendoza’s revelation on the corrupt practices of the military goes to show that the institution has perpetuated these with impunity, the same way it has perpetuated its human rights violations with impunity,” she said.
Palabay commended women like Mendoza and former Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian, who exposed similar cases of corruption in the military’s corruption of the Balikatan funds in 2008.
“We commend Mendoza and Gadian who, even with threats to their lives, family and jobs, chose to expose such corrupt practices. We should remain vigilant in ensuring that accountability and justice should be served,” she concluded.
Cristina Palabay, Convenor of Tanggol Bayi-Karapatan
Loffy Bermejo, Public Information Officer, Tanggol Bayi-Karapatan