The AFP welcomes the pronouncement made by Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Harry Roque relieving from his post BGen Edwin Leo Torrelavega, the Commander of the AFP Health Services Command (AFPHSC) and Colonel Antonio Punzalan, the Commander of V. Luna Hospital for them and around 20 others to face Court Martial proceedings.
The pronouncement springs from the outcome of two different but parallel investigations that I have ordered conducted motu proprio. The task to thoroughly collect material and relevant information regarding the case started sometime in the month of May 2018. The results of which I transmitted to Malacañang by way of a Letter to the President sometime this month (August).
The case will be tried under the Military Justice system and the accused will be proceeded against in Court Martial proceedings where they will be given the opportunity to be heard.
They will be charged with Violation of Article of War 95 (Fraud Against the Government). That is, however, without prejudice to: (1) Other infractions of the Articles of War that may have also been violated; and (2) The accused military personnel’s right to due process.
As the AFP Chief of Staff and like our Commander-in Chief President Rodrigo Duterte, I am both saddened and offended by this report.
I am not prejudging the named Officers and Enlisted Personnel as the would-be recommendations of the Courts Martial will be submitted to me for approval and further submission to the Commander-in-Chief for final approval.
But I commit to the members of the AFP, to the Filipino People, and to our beloved President and Commander-in-Chief that I will render justice to all concerned without undue haste. As the President said during the last SONA corruption is corrosive. And the warning that— “I will get you!” And I am one with him in that desire. At ito na yun.
In the meantime, and based from the findings in the investigation, I will order that reforms be instituted in the AFP Health Services Command. I will cause a major revamp in that unit to address the systemic corruption that previous AFP leaderships have been endeavoring to stamp out.
I will cause the installation only of Officers and Staff with the necessary qualifications, competencies, integrity, and unquestionable reputation, to run this institution which is vital to the health and well-being of our personnel and their dependents.
And as i said during my Assumption of Command as the 50th AFP Chief of Staff, I will have “Zero Tolerance” on corruption. I will only allow transparency, meritocracy, justice, judgment, and leadership by example to prevail in our ranks.
We will never put in vain the patriotism, heroism, sacrifice, and selfless service of our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines both active and retired — regular or reservists— and the ideals they all fought and died for.