Angelo Reyes

Loose Ends

Lest we get caught up in the notion that Corona’s removal from office has delivered ‘a new dawn’ for public accountability, let us first attend to a few loose ends.

The Corona impeachment showed us as a nation both how to and how not to go about removing high public officers from their posts. The wrong way was summarised by the presiding officer, the Senate President himself who delivered the coup de grace to the former chief justice. In handing down his verdict, Senate President Enrile stated

I was personally frustrated by the loose and hasty crafting and preparation that characterized the presentation of the charges contained in the Articles of Impeachment. It seemed that the case was being built up only after the charges were actually filed (emphasis mine). The repeated recourse to this Court’s compulsory processes to obtain evidence which normally should have formed the factual basis of the charges in the first place further burdened and, at times, taxed the patience of this Court.

We have witnessed with disdain the indiscriminate, deliberate and illegal machinations of some parties who have been less than forthright with this Court in presenting dubiously procured and misleading documents which were spread to the media obviously to influence this Court’s and the public’s opinion.

And yet, despite these “underhanded tactics” employed by the prosecution, some would say that they were effective nonetheless. As Dean Tony La Viña wrote

(T)he conviction of Mr Corona was arrived at, not principally because of the evidence of the prosecution, but because of evidence that ironically the Corona defense presented…The prosecution however should be credited for presenting enough evidence to compel the defense to take the risks they did in presenting the Ombudsman and Mr Corona.

I would even go further than that by saying that without the intense trial by publicity and public vilification of the character of the former Chief Justice, Mr Corona would not have felt the need to come clean at the Senate. After suffering physically, mentally, emotionally and socially from the vehement campaign to shame him into capitulation, he was pressured to take steps to preserve the dignity of his public “face” that in the end led to his conviction.

The wrong way can be summarised by the phrase: the ends justify the means. Many from the bloc comprised of Enrile and six other independent senator-judges plus a pro-administration one in the person of Ralph Recto who were crucial to secure a conviction expressed concern and apprehension at the way this philosophy appeared to govern the pro-conviction side. Some of them had suffered at the hands of similar biased treatment during their political careers. Still they decided to settle the moral dilemma “in favour of upholding the law and sound public policy”.

What this episode in our history should teach us is that when the facts are presented in a manner so clear and convincing, nothing can prevent the right decision from being rendered even by those who are not allied with your cause. The administration had feared that if it had not acted hastily in passing the impeachment through the lower house that the Supreme Court would have been called on to intervene and prevent the case from prospering.

Such a course of action was resorted to by its enemies in the past. This is why in its estimation, the ends justified the means. But if it had built its case on solid evidence, which is eventually what happened in the course of the trial in a back-to-front sort of way, it would have had nothing to fear. Senate President Enrile reminds us that in the words of Dean La Viña the “Supreme Court cannot intervene because the decision would be based, not an on interpretation of law, but on a finding of fact”.

But if this case shows us how not to prosecute public officials we suspect of wrong-doing, its converse would provide a template for the right way to do it. It is in discussing this converse case that a few loose ends crop up. Let me enumerate them in passing.

The role of whistleblowers

The prosecution procured some evidence from an anonymous source tagged the “small lady” contained in a large brown envelope. Whistleblowers may or may not wish to reveal their identities as some of the information they reveal may have been illegally acquired or illegal to disclose as in this case, but wherever possible, they should be encouraged to come forward. Giving them protection through legislation which is currently pending would help in uncovering corrupt practices in the future.

Once these cases are reported and become part of the public domain, through “barbershop talk” or otherwise, the impeachment case demonstrates that it can then form part of a complaint filed with the office of the Ombudsman. In fact, the Ombudsman does not even need to wait for such complaints from concerned citizens to be filed. It can commence its investigation based on such reports.

The role of ‘freedom of information’

Public access to information particularly the sworn statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of public officials would be vital in mounting a challenge to the truthfulness and accuracy of such declarations. It would also be useful as the government seeks to make its use of resources more transparent to the public. Pending legislation could allow for greater availability and accessibility of such information.

Any private citizen with personal knowledge of certain assets owned by government officials could then compare it with what appears in their SALNs. Likewise, anyone with personal knowledge of transactions engaged in by any agency can compare it with the financial statements and specific records kept by that agency.

Any discrepancy or inconsistency can then be used as prima facie evidence to launch a public inquiry into the anomalous statement or transaction.

The role of the Ombudsman and AMLC

Perceptions of a witch hunt due to the orchestration of various public agencies including the Land Registration Authority, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate the assets of the former chief justice and his family could have been avoided, if it had been handled by the Office of the Ombudsman. This office has the power to investigate all public officers, even impeachable ones.

The problem however arises in interpreting bank transactions provided by the AMLC in proving or disproving the entries in the sworn SALNs of public officials. The banks are only required to report transactions or flow of funds into and out of client accounts. What is required are the account balances to compare them with the items in the SALN which are a snapshot of the stocks of assets and liabilities at a given point in time.

On top of this, the AMLC can only provide reports to investigative agencies when the accounts in question are being suspected of being used as a vehicle for money laundering. Proposed amendments to the law governing the agency should allow this to be expanded to cover corrupt practices and tax evasion. Of course, the rights of the suspect will still be protected as a court order will still be required for such information to be handed over.

The role of bank secrecy waivers

We have seen how the veil of bank secrecy was almost lifted during the Corona impeachment trial. I say almost, because neither side chose to present any documentary proof from these accounts despite the execution of an absolute waiver. Given perceived inconsistencies between the SALN law and the Foreign Currency Deposits law, the coverage of the waiver executed by public officials when they file their SALNs became a contestable issue.

A few senator-judges highlighted the need for amending these laws to remove any ambiguity or inconsistency between them. In my view, the economic conditions now prevailing in the country no longer warrant absolute confidentiality for foreign currency deposits. While the impeachment trial was being litigated, the outlook for the country was upgraded to positive by one credit rating agency. The nation has also become a net creditor to the rest of the world. Inflation and interest rates have settled much lower than they were when the country experienced a debt crisis.

The rapid accumulation of foreign reserves from investments, exports and foreign remittances has strengthened the peso and put a lot of pressure on domestic firms who have had to compete with imports that are now cheaper due to the peso’s appreciation and on exporters whose products have become less competitive because of the same. It has also lowered the spending power of families who receive the bulk of their income from overseas remittances. The time has come to review the foreign currency deposit law to see whether the incentives provided there for maintaining local dollar accounts are still required or even desirable.

The role of surveys and public opinion

We have seen how public opinion polls were used to apply pressure on senator-judges to cast a vote that agreed with the majority as next year is an election year. The quasi-political nature of the impeachment trial meant that the sub judice rule was not applied. The prosecution, defence and judges were allowed to air their views, present their evidence to the media even prior to their appointed time in the court even when parties were warned not to parade their evidence outside the court room.

Somehow I feel this lack of restraint will force the Senate to adopt a different set of rules the next time around. Thankfully, only one senator, Vicente Sotto III, who experienced a voter backlash following the previous trial of former president Joseph Estrada, based his verdict on the views held by the majority according to the polls which were taken right after the prosecution had presented its case. The rest followed their conscience based on the evidence.

The subdued reception by Malacañang Palace of the verdict in which it stated that Mr Corona was “merely the public face of the things that ail our justice system” demonstrated that it had been chastened somewhat, and rightly so, by the admonitions of many senator-judges for fomenting public rage against the former chief justice. Luckily in this case, public pressure did not result in self-harm or death as it did with former defence secretary Angelo Reyes.

The role of trust

Finally, I would like to highlight the need for public trust in the system for dispensing justice. Many on the winning side of the argument are claiming that the outcome of the trial has restored a sense of faith in our institutions. That point is debatable, but let us take it at face value and assume that at least for those who are pronouncing it, that it is true.

One thing we should hope for is that the next time around, this renewed sense of public trust will prevent them from exercising underhanded tactics to advance their cause. Let us hope that next time around, they will have enough faith in the system to allow it to follow its procedures, allowing a preliminary investigation and preliminary trial through the responsible committees and agencies tasked with determining if there is probable cause for mounting a case.

If we are now to believe that the country has reached a level of maturity, that it can now trust in its democratic and judicial systems to deliver the right outcome regardless of the personalities involved, be they friend or foe, then perhaps in the future we ought to leave it to those systems to function as they were designed to and not try to over-ride them. None of these systems are perfect, of course. In fact no system based on human agency can be, but if we are to live under the rule of law, then we will have to trust in them.

With the impeachment trial now over, and with elections a little less than a year away, let us hope that all of these loose ends get tidied up.

The Daily Roundup: 10 February 2011

“Trillanes bares talk with Reyes camp on corruption” by Lynda Jumilla and Jorge Carino

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday confirmed having received a letter from former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes regarding corruption issues in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

An unidentified emissary close to Reyes handed the letter to Trillanes last January 18.

Reyes’ letter was short, asking Trillanes to identify the supposedly powerful person allegedly fronting for former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia, who has been accused with plundering military coffers.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

“‘Be strong, be strong’ Reyes said as he lay dying” by Cynthia Balana, Tarra Quismundo

The last remark of the dying Angelo Reyes to his youngest son Judd was not “Sorry” but “Be strong, be strong, kontakin mo mga kapatid mo (contact your brothers).”

Judd Reyes, along with his brother Carlo and their father’s aide Cesar Abon and driver Rolando Dagang, accompanied the retired general to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City on that fateful Tuesday morning.

In an interview with the Inquirer on Tuesday night, Judd said that as always, his father was “quiet” from the house to the cemetery and spoke with them in a normal voice. He said no one in the family had any inkling that their father would commit suicide.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Garcia, Ligot pressed to tell it all” by JP Lopez

PRESIDENT pro tempore Jinggoy Estrada yesterday proposed an executive session for the next hearing of the Blue Ribbon committee, in the hope that Maj. Gen. (ret.) Carlos Garcia and his immediate predecessor, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jacinto Ligot, would divulge what they know about conversion and diversion of the military’s budget.

“Kasi sinabi nga ni General Garcia that he might incriminate himself. Even General Ligot. We’ll give them a chance to say everything in an executive (session). Tutal naman, under our rules, pag merong sinabi ang resource person sa executive (session), hindi namin pwedeng i-divulge (to public),” Estrada said.

But Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said it might raise suspicions.

Read more at Malaya

“Dying with honor” by Solicta Collas-Monsod

Seppuku. Hara-kiri. The Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment committed by the professional warrior (samurai) following the code of bushido — under which honor is dearer than life. That was the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news that General Angelo Reyes had killed himself.

And while he used a gun rather than the ritual knife or sword, the place that he chose (his mother’s gravesite), the calmness and unflinchingness with which he did it (reportedly after doing some reading and certainly some meditation), the preparation that went into it, were strongly evocative of seppuku, even to the presence (albeit at a distance, and without their knowing of his intentions) of close associates (his sons).

Because honor is dearer than life, anything which has brought disgrace must, following the warrior’s code of honor or bushido, be atoned by committing seppuku. Other possible reasons for the ritual suicide are listed as well: “to show contempt for an enemy, to protest against injustice, as a means to get their lord to reconsider an unwise or unworthy action and as a means to save others.” Angel Reyes could have used any or all of those reasons as basis for his action.

Read more at Business World

“Taiwan freezes PHL hiring” by R. Mercene, M. Gonzalez, E. Torres, with Fil Elefante of Philippines Graphic

A DE FACTO freeze in the hiring of Filipino labor for jobs in Taiwan, tighter monitoring for those already working there, and a possible halt to other investments in the pipeline. These are among the measures that followed the recall of Taiwan’s special representative to the Philippines, as the fallout from the deportation to mainland China of 14 Taiwanese—suspects in a fraud syndicate—continued.

Donald Dee, Taiwan’s special representative to Manila, also had strong words as he briefed Philippine journalists on Wednesday, saying at one point Manila must apologize to Taipei for unilaterally bundling off 14 Taiwanese in a special flight to Beijing last week. The 14 were part of a global ring estimated to have ripped off victims in the mainland to the tune of $20 million

The 14, along with 10 others from mainland China, were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation and officers from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security on December 27, 2010, and deported to Beijing on February 2, over Taipei’s vigorous objections.

Read more at Business Mirror

“Noy still for RH bill – Palace” by Delon Porcalla

President Aquino has always been for responsible parenthood, Malacañang reiterated yesterday.

We have always been very consistent that his stand was for responsible parenthood,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

“His stand was always for responsible parenthood, meaning that the choice is left to the parents after they have all the available information given to them.

Read more at The Philippine Star

“BSP sees GIR hitting record $70 billion and BOP surplus of $8 billion” by Lawrence Agcaoili

he Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sees the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) hitting a new record level of $70 billion and the balance of payments (BOP) posting a surplus of $8 billion this year as foreign capital continues to flood emerging market economies including the Philippines.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said on the sidelines of the Year-End Philippine Economic Briefing entitled “Daylight in the Philippines: Accelerating Progress” that monetary authorities expect a stronger external payments position with the GIR hitting a new record led of between $68 billion and $70 billion and the balance of payments (BOP) surplus ranging from $6 billion to $8 billion this year.

“The projected BOP surplus for this year is about $6 billion to $8 billion this year and the GIR would be $68 billion to $70 billion by the end of this year. The details are still being worked out and we will give this to you as soon as they become available,” Tetangco told reporters.

Read more at The Philippine Star

“MAP calls for better anti-corruption measures” by Abigail L. Ho

The Management Association of the Philippines is calling on Congress to come up with improved anti-corruption measures, to ensure that corruption in the government is eliminated or at least kept to a bare minimum.

In a statement, MAP president Felino Palafox Jr. said the death of former Armed Forces chief of staff Angelo Reyes should not stop investigations into military corruption

“Congress has to complete its investigation, craft new or improved anti-corruption measures, and recommend appropriate legal action against erring government officials. This is one way to ensure that General Reyes’ death will not be in vain,” he said.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

“DTI seeks to side-step ‘anti-business’ LGUs” by Irma Isip

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is working for the establishment of domestic economic zones to side-step the hurdles posed by “anti-business” local government units.

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said these zones will enjoy protection from the whimsies of local officials.

He said the DTI is also pushing for the passage of a Magna Carta on Investments to protect investors from changes in regulations, policies and taxation by LGUs.

Read more at Malaya

“Aquino open to ‘win-win’ interim deal on Malampaya royalties” by Mia M. Gonzalez

President Aquino is open to a “win-win” interim agreement between the national government and the Palawan provincial government on the sharing of Malampaya royalties pending a Supreme Court ruling on the latter, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

The President said in an interview with reporters in Puerto Princesa, where he shot a video to promote the Puerto Princesa Underground River, that he discussed the matter with Palawan Gov. Abraham Mitra, who initiated the topic.

“Gov. Abraham Mitra and I discussed this but not with Mayor [Edward] Hagedorn. But the bottom line is we will try to have a win-win solution here. As you know, this case is still pending before the Supreme Court,” he said, when asked for his position on Palawan’s share in the Malampaya royalties.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

Praise he can do without

Patricia Daza, spokeswoman of the late Angelo Reyes, should learn to be more careful.

In an interview with Noli De Castro on TV Patrol, Daza’s praise for Reyes actually diminished the man.

Excerpts from the interview:

    Noli de Castro (NDC): Magandang gabi, Pat. Nakikiramay kami sa pamilya Reyes.

    Patricia Daza (PD): Maganda gabi, Kabayan.

    NDC: Nagkita tayo together with Secretary Reyes noon dito sa ABS-CBN at medyo napapansin ko hindi ganoon ang kanyang itsura noong kami’y magkasama sa Gabinete. At iyon ay hindi pa lumalabas ang isyu ni Rabusa kundi iyon pa lang may mambabatas na isinasangkot siya sa kaso ni General Garcia. Lagi kayong magkasama, inaalalayan mo siya Pat, ano ba ang sinasabi niya sa ‘yo, siya ba ay may hinanakit talaga?

    PD: Ang sinasabi lang niya parati sa akin, kasi ang sinasabi ko parati kay sir, ‘sir, kamusta kayo? Okay lang ba kayo?’ ‘Okay lang tayo, okay lang tayo, Pat. Huwag kang mag-alala, okay lang tayo.’ ‘Ganyan talaga,’ sabi niya, ‘hindi tayo nakaupo ngayon. Weather-weather lang talaga iyan.’ He always made light of situation. That’s why it was very shocking when I heard the news.

    Kasi, Kabayan, nandoon ka nga, magkasama tayo sa dressing room mo noong in-interview siya ng TV Patrol. At si Secretary Reyes, to the end, ayaw niya talagang manlaglag.

    Hindi ba sinasabi mo nga sa kanya ‘Angie, magsalita ka na, magsalita ka na’ hindi ba Kabayan? ‘Mahirap, mahirap, Kabayan.’ Sabi niya, ‘Hindi ako ganoon, ayaw ko magsalita. Ayaw ko magsangkot ng ibang tao.’ Tapos sinasabi mo, ‘Angie, dinidikdik ka na.’ Sabi niya ‘Hindi bale na, ako na lang, ako na lang.’ So talagang until the end, he was really a man of honor, gentleman talaga at ayaw niya talaga mangdawit ng tao.

Schumey of The Philippine Experience pointed out a bit of revisionism in the claim that hindi marunong manglaglag si Reyes.

    “hindi siya nang-lalaglag and yet back in ’01, at the height of the calls for a disgraced but popular president to step down, he withdrew his support for the constitutionally elected president. Di ba pan-lalaglag yon?”

Here’s some unsolicited advice for the relatives, friends, and supporters of Reyes:

Ask for a thorough investigation of the allegations against him. It’s the only way to clear his name.

The Daily Roundup: 9 February 2011

Death was honorable way out for Reyes by Ron Gagalac

The suicide of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes was his “honorable way out,” University of the Philippines political scientist Dr. Clarita Carlos said.

She compared Reyes’ decision to ancient Japanese warriors committing ritual suicide when they lose honor and dignity.

“It’s ‘hara-kiri.’ It’s the honorable way out, a combination of loss of hope, loss of self esteem, the shame factor,” she said.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

Arroyo hails Reyes for ‘courage, patriotic service’by Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

Former president and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes for his “courage and patriotic service” as she condoled with his family over the untimely death.

“We join the family, friends and colleagues of Secretary Angelo Reyes in mourning his tragic passing. … We pray for the repose of his soul, and call on our people to remember above all his courage and patriotic service,” Arroyo said through her spokesperson Elena Horn-Bautista.

Read more at The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Global crisis pushed more families into povertyby Darwin G. Amojelar

THE impact of the global financial crisis and the calamities that struck the country have resulted in more poor Filipino families, the government reported Tuesday.

In its 2009 Official Poverty Statistics report, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said poor Filipino families numbered 3.86 million, up from 3.67 million in 2006, using the new methodology.

Using the old methodology, the number of poor households reached 4.9 million in 2009, higher than the 4.7 million in 2006.

Read more at The Manila Times

NSCB ‘frees’ 9M from povertyby Angela Celis

A total of 9 million Filipinos who have not seen any improvement in their material circumstances have been freed from poverty under a new way of computing the cost of food and other methodological “refinements” adopted by the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Under the new methodology, the NSCO placed the poverty incidence at 26.5 percent in 2009, a slight increase from 26.4 percent in 2006.

Under the old methodology, the poverty incidence was 37.3 percent in 2009 and 36.16 percent in 2006.

Read more at Malaya

Birthday wish: Make people’s lives betterby Jocelyn Montemayor

PRESIDENT Aquino on his 51st birthday yesterday made a commitment to work doubly hard to better the lives of Filipinos soonest.

In an ambush interview at a medical-dental mission organized in his honor by the Office of the President, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Presidential Security Group at the Chino Roces Bridge parking area outside Malacañang Palace, Aquino said he no longer has any wishes to make for himself.

He said he is more interested in the “transformation of society for the betterment of our people’s lives at a faster pace than what we have so far managed to achieve.”

Read more at Malaya

Disappointing 2011 budgetby Benjamin E. Diokno

Policymakers who look up to the public sector as a major source of growth in 2011 are in for a major disappointment. Planned public spending, net of debt service, is expected to contract in real terms. Direct spending for public infrastructure is expected to slow, too, as appropriations for various public works decline. This, combined with the shrinking list of public-private partnership (PPP) projects that are ready to be bid and implemented this year, will mean another slow year for public construction.

Expectedly, the fastest growing item in the 2011 national budget is interest payments — from P276 billion in 2010 to P357 billion in 2011, or by a whopping 29.3%.

Total planned government spending, net of interest payments, is expected to increase from P1.249 trillion in 2010 to P1.273 trillion in 2011, or by a measly 1.9%. Corrected for inflation, which is forecast to range from 4% to 5%, the productive part of the budget is expected to decline by 2.1% to 3.1%.

Read more at Business World

“Businessmen to government: be consistent” by Max V. De Leon

THE government needs to come up with clear protection from regulatory, legislative and judicial risks for long-term investors, as well as immediately resolve previous build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects that went wrong, to be able to persuade the international investment community to participate in the administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) made this clear in a forum organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) on Tuesday for the diplomatic community and foreign chambers on the PPP program.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI managing head Cristino L. Panlilio assured the investors that Malacañang’s economic team is working on the measures to protect investors from these risks and uncertainties.

Read more at Business Mirror

Cabinet changes due next weekby Jocelyn Montemayor

PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday said he will announce changes in the Cabinet by next week.

The President, in an ambush interview at the medical-dental mission sponsored by the Office of the President at the Chino Roces Bridge to mark his 51st birthday, declined to give details on who will be affected.

“Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr will be in the better position to tell you the exact date,” he said.

Read more at Malaya

Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s statement on the death of former AFP Chief of Staff and Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes

We are deeply saddened by the turn of events. We condole with the family of the late Secretary Angelo Reyes. It is tragic that what started out as an investigation in aid of legislation has led to his apparent suicide. Death is not a graceful exit to such a distinguished officer as Secretary Reyes. A more honorable way would have been to come out with the truth and win back the admiration of his fellow soldiers. This is now the challenge the other generals are facing. Read more

AFP Chief of Staff, Secretary Angelo Reyes dead in apparent suicide

See also: Former DND Secretary Angelo Reyes commits suicide.

News broke this morning that former AFP Chief of Staff and former Energy and Environment Secretary, Angelo Reyes, has died in an apparent suicide. This comes at the heels of the Senate and congressional hearings involving the plunder case and plea bargain of former AFP comptroller, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, and the ensuing issues of the “pabaon” and “pasalubong” system in the military that were exposed by whistle-blower George Rabusa.

The Inquirer published this story on Reyes’ death:

Angelo Reyes commits suicide

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) Former Armed Forces Chief and Defense Secretary Angelo Tomas Reyes on Tuesday morning committed suicide by shooting himself in front of the grave of his mother at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City. A close friend of Reyes called the Philippine Daily Inquirer to break the news, while Colonel Boogie De Leon, a former administrative officer of Reyes when he was AFP chief, said Reyes was rushed to the Quirino Hospital at about 7:45 a.m. to revive him. Members of his family could not be reached for comment.

De Leon said that Reyes’s son Jett called him up to inform him of the incident.

Reyes, who earlier suffered a mild stroke before the congressional investigations on the alleged AFP financial irregularities, said he could not take anymore the smear campaign against his name and his family.

“Not my family,” he said.

Reyes, who loved his mother very much when she was still alive, earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview that he would never do anything that would besmirch the name of “my good mother.” Reyes, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class ’66, was AFP chief under President Joseph Estrada, and secretary of defense, interior and local government, and energy during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2003. He graduated as the class valedictorian in high school and was among the top ten graduates of the PMA.

He went on to obtain two masteral degrees, namely: Masters in Business Administration from Asian Institute of Management in 1973 and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1991. He also took up International Defense Management Course in Monterey, California in 1983.

In 1987, he graduated No. 1 in Trust Operations Management Course conducted by the Trust Institutes Foundation of the Philippines at the Ateneo Business School which eventually earned him a scholarship to the Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

By Cynthia Balana of Philippine Daily Inquirer

Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer

Former DND Secretary Angelo Reyes commits suicide (updated)

ANC reported that former Defense and Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes shot himself in the chest and was taken to Quirino Memorial Medical Center in QC.  He was brought to the hospital at 7:45 AM.   Doctors were unable to revive the former Secretary of National Defense.

Angelo Reyes was rushed to the hospital, and declared dead on arrival.  According to ANC’s interview with Health Secretary Ona, when Reyes arrived at the hospital, he didn’t have any blood pressure, cold and bloody with no vital signs.

Noel Alamar (of ABS-CBN) quotes Manalo (PNP) as saying Reyes shot himself in the chest and was rushed to the hospital by his bodyguard.”  The former defense chief reportedly visited his mother’s tomb, then shot himself.

Witnesses say, Mr. Reyes was with two of his children and two aides at the time of his suicide.  He asked them to step away, then shot himself.

@nerveending tweeted, “I read once in a suicide profile that those who fall of fail from a high position most likely to commit suicide.”

Twitterverse was shocked by the death of Secretary Reyes.  @yuriandre tweeted, “Angelo Reyes dead? OMG! I believe there’s bigger money involved in this AFP #plunder scandal.”

The plot thickens,” @momblogger added.

Partylist Representative Teddy Casino remarked, “Reyes’ suicide will cast a shadow over today’s House hearing.  Don’t know how this will affect those attending.”

Jiggy Cruz tweeted, “Oh wow… Just read about Angelo Reyes… Let’s pray for him and his family…”