Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz revealed last night that former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Angelo Reyes insinuated to him that he was prepared to offer his life to save the military institution, which he had served for more than three decades.
Reyes who was accused of corruption, died on Monday, after shooting himself, in front of his mother’s grave in Marikina City, Metro Manila. He died from what police said was a “self-inflicted” wound.
“I never thought that he (Reyes) was serious,” Ortiz, in a text message, said.
Former military budget officer George Rabusa claimed that Reyes, former AFP chiefs Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu received millions of pesos in send-off money after retiring from the military service.
A week before his death, Ortiz said Reyes told him that he believed the congressional probes on the military were meant as a personal vengeance for his EDSA 2 role, and has affected the AFP as an institution.
He quoted Reyes as saying that the “trial by publicity” in the Senate may draw a wedge between the officers and rank-and-file, leading to a leadership breakdown in the AFP.
Reyes served as commanding general of the Philippine Army and later as AFP chief during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada. He abandoned Estrada who was later convicted of plunder, during the EDSA 2 uprising.
After finishing his military tour of duty, Reyes was designated defense secretary by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Later, he was also named as secretary of Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources as well as Energy.
Although he was no longer with the military, Ortiz, said Reyes always contacted him to inquire about the plight of soldiers, especially those assigned in Mindanao.
“I believed it pained him (Reyes) most to be accused of using the money that was intended for salaries of soldiers, which he never did use”, Ortiz said.
“Sir Angie Reyes had always been for the preservation of the institution (AFP),” he added.*GPB