This is from the Tribune (Manila)
While the AFP is mounting a probe without the whistle-blower one wonders what positive evidence will come forward given that the woman who made the charge fears for her safety if she testifies. No doubt others who might testify have the same fears.
AFP to press probe of Balikatan fund mess even without Gadian
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will proceed with its investigation of the alleged misuse of the funds intended for use in the RP-US Balikatan exercises held two years ago in the country even without the issue’s whistle-blower, Navy Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian, a military official said yesterday.
Speaking at the Balitaan sa Tinapayan forum held in Sampaloc, Manila, AFP spokesman, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the investigation will focus on studying the records of the Commission on Audit in 2007 which had made an audit of the use of the funds to determine if there was indeed irregularity in their disbursement.
“We will be revisiting our records. It would be better if Lt. S/G Gadian would show up (at the hearing) and formalize her complaint and name names on who actually committed the misuse of the funds. But she has to substantiate (her claims) with evidence,” Brawner said.
He explained that the annual joint exercises between the Philippines and the United States is aimed at strengthening the capabilities of the two militaries.
A fund in the amount of P42 million was set aside for the Balikatan exercises in 2007.
Brawner, though, said the AFP’s next move regarding the alleged misuse of the 2007 Balikatan funds would depend on Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.
Earlier, Gadian’s family asked the Supreme Court to issue a writ of amparo, to compel the AFP to stop its harassment of the resigned Navy officer.
Gadian’s sister, Nedina Gadian-Diamante, said she filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of amparo after reportedly receiving a text message saying that a shoot-to-kill order had already been issued out against her sister.
The military, however, has denied issuing a shoot-to-kill order against Gadian, who went on an indefinite absence without official leave before spilling the beans on the alleged misuse of the funds for the joint RP-US Balikatan exercises two years ago by ranking Armed Forces officials.
Gadian said the “anomaly” ran from lower-ranked officials from the Western Mindanao Command up to the AFP’s hierarchy. She said they pocketed portions of the joint military exercises’ P42-million fund in 2007.
Asked to identify who sent the text message talking about the shoot-to-kill order, Diamante refused to give a name but said the sender was a “concerned citizen.”
An earlier report said Diamante’s source was someone from the Philippine National Police.
At the same time, Brawner said despite her having filed a resignation from military service, Gadian remains an officer of the AFP as she still has to go through a required process before her resignation is declared final. PNA