>A former executive assistant of then military chief of staff Gen. Roy Cimatu on Friday admitted having received P10 million monthly for several months in 2002 on behalf of the general.
Brig. Gen. Benito de Leon, during a Senate inquiry on the latest military fund scam, said he received the money as former budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa claimed.
However, De Leon clarified that the amount was not a “pay-off” or pasalubong (welcome gift) for then newly-appointed Cimatu.
“Categorically Gen. Cimatu did not receive any so-called pasalubong or pabaon,” de Leon said.
Asked what the money was for, De Leon said it was a form of “support administrative requirement” of Cimatu’s office and was eventually used for operations to battle Abu Sayyaf forces in Basilan.
De Leon admitted he felt it “unusual” to be given P10 million, but received it anyway. He said he asked one of his staff to prepare a list of programs where the money could be used.
He also admitted having prepared receipts for the P10 million.
Sen. Franklin Drilon said the transaction seemed “very unusual.”
He also pointed out that De Leon admitted to preparing documents to support the release of money “de facto” or after the transaction has already been done.
De Leon said he informed Cimatu about the P10 million delivered to the Office of the Chief of Staff.
“Eventually I had to inform my superior… He gave me specific instructions that the money should properly be used to support the requirment of the chief of staff and it should be properly liquidated,” De Leon said.
Asked if the same amount was given regularly, De Leon answered yes but said the total could not have been more than P50 million. Conflicting statements
De Leon also clarified he never asked for the money to be delivered to the office of Cimatu, as Rabusa claimed.
However, Rabusa belied this, saying De Leon called him up to request the P10 million on top of the P5 million already being given regularly to the Office of the Chief of Staff.
“Obviously one of us is not telling the truth,” De Leon said.
Rabusa answered back, “Mag-mistah tayo… But what I said in my affidavit that this really happened.”
Rabusa and De Leon are both members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1981. – VVP