Duterte fires military officials for alleged corruption

By Maecy Alviar

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA) – At least 20 top military officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center have been fired by President Rodrigo Duterte over corruption allegations, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Monday.

Roque said Duterte has ordered relief and court martial proceedings against the military brass due to anomalous purchases and fraudulent transactions which include ghost purchasing, splitting of contracts to circumvent mandatory bidding processes and creating fictitious suppliers.

Roque claimed the “conspiracy” and “institutional corruption” at the country’s main military hospital had been taking place before the Duterte administration.

He revealed that Duterte was “aggravated” and “ballistic” because he had recently ordered the release of an additional 50 million pesos ($935,038) to the hospital to ensure it would have sufficient funds for the medical requirements of all members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In a separate news conference, Military Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. vowed to fix the “systemic corruption” at the institution in one month.

“We need to cleanse the institution. I have no tolerance for corruption,” Galvez said.

He added that an investigation by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) of the hospital’s transactions was triggered by a complaint of irregular transactions and ghost deliveries received from the Office of the President last May.

He revealed that the ISAFP found 17 questionable transactions involving around 17 million pesos ($317,855) but noted that he has ordered the investigating unit to probe more contracts that would bring the total money involved to 200 million pesos ($3.74 million).

Aside from the probe to be conducted by the deputy ombudsman for the military and other law enforcement offices, the sacked military officials will undergo court martial proceedings where they will be given the opportunity to be heard.

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