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PIA Press Release

Arroyo taps 2 retired generals to oversee AFP procurement

Quezon City (22 December) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has named two retired generals to a task force that will oversee the procurement of military hardware at the Department of National Defense (DND).

Vice Admiral Mayuga, who retired as Navy chief last December 8, and retired Lieutenant General Pedro Cabuay, who retired as Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) commander last July 31, will join finance undersecretary Roberto Tan in the task force, Arroyo said.

In a speech during the 71st anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo Thursday, Arroyo said she has appointed Mayuga as presidential adviser, seconded to the DND.

Mayuga headed a military internal investigation that cleared four senior officers of involvement in alleged cheating that purportedly helped Arroyo win a fresh six-year mandate in the 2004 elections. His full report was never made public.

Cabuay was earlier appointed as deputy National Security Adviser, according to news reports. But in an interview with reporters on Thursday, he said he has not seen his appointment papers.

Mayuga and Cabuay join four other retired generals at the DND: undersecretaries Ernesto Carolina, Antonio Santos, and Ariston delos Reyes, and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Glen Rabonza.

"Transparency is crucial. Thus, the procurement process will be watched by the National Security Council, where the Department of National Defense is a member. The NSC shall be assisted by a task force of respected personalities," Arroyo said.

Arroyo said she was "tweaking" the military procurement process to align it with the new government procurement law and with the mission of the AFP and to generate "quick impact."

To the applause of the audience, composed of military commanders, Arroyo said procurement processes would be "transparent and overtly discouraging the involvement of brokers and middlemen."

Arroyo said she decided to stay on as concurrent defense chief for 60 days purposely to "restate the vision for the AFP and to put it into motion" before appointing a replacement for former secretary Avelino Cruz Jr., who resigned last November 30.

"We especially want to harness the younger generation of AFP officers by sharing with them a vision and the hardware to achieve it, as opposed to the patronage approach," she said.

Alleged corruption in the military has been the gripe of restive soldiers, including the 300-strong Magdalo group of junior officers and enlisted men who staged a day-long mutiny on July 27, 2003.

In 2004, the military's former comptroller, retired Major General Carlos Garcia, was charged before civilian and military courts for alleged corruption. A court martial sentenced him in December 2005 to two years imprisonment, hard labor, dishonorable dismissal from the service, and forfeiture of his retirement benefits.

Since the corruption scandal broke, the defense establishment has made several reform programs, including the abolition of the comptroller post or J6 and the deactivation of the AFP Logistics Command (Logcom), an alleged source of corruption, to pave the way for the decentralization of the military procurement system.

Observers from the private sector were also invited to biddings for supply contracts at the DND. (PIA) [top]

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