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PIA Press Release

Military pursuing graft cases vs ex-RSBS execs

Quezon City (6 October) -- THE MILITARY intends to pursue 91 graft cases against former officials, among them retired generals, of the Retirement and Separation Benefits System (RSBS) who allegedly caused the pension fund to sink into financial ruin, a spokesman said Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership would "exert some effort to expedite" the cases pending before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

One graft case involves ex-AFP chief Lisandro Abadia and eight other members of the RSBS executive committee who approved an allegedly anomalous P277-million loan.

Another case, involving RSBS president Jose Ramiscal, another retired general, and three others -- lawyers Meinrado Enrique and Manuel Satuito, and Captain Perfecto Quilicot -- stemmed from the purchase of 148 parcels of land worth P167.6 million.

The AFP and the DND have decided to shut down the RSBS effective December 31 and replace it with a civilian-run pension fund.

The defense leadership is also planning to sell the firm's idle assets, which includes P7.8 billion worth of land and P1.8 billion worth of shares of stock in real estate firms.

The RSBS was established in 1973 with P200 million in seed money to provide pensions for soldiers. However, bad investments forced it to source funds -- the most recent figures show as much as P10.6 billion annually -- from the national budget.

An AFP-DND study revealed that aside from bad investments and mismanagement, the RSBSí woes can be traced to a provision that allows members to refund their entire contributions plus six percent interest upon retirement, on top of their monthly pension.

On Thursday, Major General Horacio Tolentino, AFP deputy chief of staff for personnel, said the military leadership would tour camps across the country to explain to troops the decision to shut down the RSBS. (PIA) [top]

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