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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, February 10, 2011
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‘Proper decorum at
Senate hearings needed’


Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday said the Senate hearings on alleged corruption in the military will go on but proper decorum should be observed and a time-frame should be set.

“It should not be just a witch hunt, but should be done in aid of legislation,” said Zubiri, who was in Bacolod City for the Azkals football match against the Mongolian national team.

Angelo Reyes, former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief who had also served as secretary of interior and local government, environment, and energy under former President Gloria Arroyo, killed himself at the grave of his mother at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City Tuesday.

In a Senate hearing earlier, former budget military officer George Rabusa had accused Reyes of allegedly receiving at least P50 million send-off money when he retired as AFP chief in 2001, a charge Reyes denied.

The Senate, out of respect for Reyes, has postponed the hearings on allegations of corruption in the military until after the former general is laid to rest, with the next meeting of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee planned for February 18, Zubiri said.

Zubiri, who is not a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee, said it is about time Philippine legislators take lessons from members of other Senates, like that of the United States,  who conduct investigations with proper decorum and without scaring off resource persons.

In the future, resource persons will avoid congressional hearings out of fear of being unduly embarrassed in public if this is not corrected, Zubiri said.

But Zubiri said he is not saying that the Senate should stop conducting investigations and doing its job to oversee government agencies in aid of legislation.

The investigation into the corruption in the military should go on, he added.

“But it should have a time-frame and proper recommendations for reform should be made,” he added.

He has spoken to the rank and file in the military and they are supportive of the move to stop corruption, especially among the higher ranks, Zubiri said.*CPG




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