Shamed or Silenced?

It all started with an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller being stopped at a US airport for failing to declare US$100,000 cash inside his luggage — who would have thought the saga would see a prominent ex-general commit suicide.

Angelo Reyes 1945-2011

The nation is rocked with the news of retired AFP chief Angelo Reyes’ death this morning, the nature is even more shocking. He committed suicide.

Reyes was in the spotlight after allegations from a personal friend and ex-colleague, retired AFP budget officer Colonel George Rabusa, accused him of amassing illegally wealth from the service. Rabusa’s testimony claims that Reyes received more than US$1M when he retired.

Rabusa’s bombshell didn’t only comprise of Reyes however; several other high-profile officials which include: retired General Roy Cimatu, Lieutenant General Jacinto Ligot and former Surigao del Sur representative Prospero Pichay are included in his testimony.

Former energy, interior, environmental and defense secretary Angelo Reyes was undoubtedly the most unlikely one to be on the list of ‘corrupt’ personas. The soft-spoken retired general was often on the receiving end of publicity — the good kind that is. He once danced for a charity event. But you can never judge a person from the way he acts in public, for it could also just be a ‘show’. Whether or not Angelo Reyes was really guilty of all those allegations, the interrogators would have to find out without him.

What puzzles everyone however, is that why would he take his own life? Was he guilty? Could he not have taken the shame? Could it be possible that he knew too much and the ‘big bosses’ in this whole mess wanted him silenced?

Reyes shot himself in a cemetery after all, out in the public. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen him bring his children inside their car before hearing an explosion, however. A testimony that could back the suicide angle. Not to forget that Reyes had done so after visiting the grave of his mother. Could it be that he was guilty of all he has done, if ever any of it was true, that he somewhat made a sign of respect to his deceased mother before giving in to guilt?

There are too many angles to discuss that it may not fit into this article. It is best to leave this on the hands of the Blue Ribbon Committee, and to the administration of Noynoy Aquino that they may fulfill their promise of eradicating corruption in the government. It is also crucial for George Rabusa to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth — as he said in oath. Never mind if he played a part on this as well, persecute him later. It is more important that we see the entire picture first.

People are now mourning for the death of a great man, Angelo Reyes, who was no doubt a brilliant mind as well. But as the saying goes, “don’t cry over spilled milk”; don’t dwell in the past. Reyes is now gone, there is nothing anyone can do to change that. What can still be done is to not let his death be in vain; continue the hearings, find a conclusion, a satisfying one, to all of this. Stealing their money is no way to treat our brave and valiant soldiers. Anyone who siphoned funds, illegally, must be brought to justice regardless of what position he may hold in office.

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