Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Repost From Jim Gomez For Associated Press

Ex-Philippine military chief who shot self buried

MANILA, Philippines – A former Philippine military chief who committed suicide after being linked to a corruption scandal was buried at a heroes' cemetery Sunday as senators vowed to press on with an investigation into military graft.

Military pallbearers brought the flag-draped coffin of Ret. Gen. Angelo Reyes to his tomb at the National Heroes' Cemetery as his widow and sons _ all dressed in white _ wept and dropped petals on his casket. The mourners were led by ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom Reyes served loyally through four failed military uprisings.

Reyes, who also served as defense chief and was among the country's most prominent generals, shot himself in the chest at his mother's grave Tuesday after he and two other ex military chiefs of staff were accused of pocketing millions of dollars from funds intended for troop salaries, combat needs and a military hospital. Reyes had denied the accusation.

In eulogies late Saturday, fellow generals and former Arroyo Cabinet members expressed shock at his death, describing him as a patriotic general and doting father.

"I hope we'll remember the many good things that Angie did for his countrymen's sake," said Eduardo Ermita, a retired general and Arroyo executive secretary. He referred to Reyes by his nickname.

Reyes oversaw many counterinsurgency battles, including an offensive in 2000 that led to the fall of the main stronghold of the country's largest Muslim rebel group. He was in charge of the departments of defense, environment, energy, interior and local government affairs and held other key posts under Arroyo.

Corruption, long entrenched in Philippine society, is an especially explosive issue in the inadequately equipped and poorly paid 120,000-strong military and has sparked several insurrections in the last two decades by disgruntled troops.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said the investigation into military corruption would continue and Reyes's widow may be asked to testify after a period of mourning. Reyes's wife has been accused of taking money for a foreign trip.

Reposted From Jim Gomez For Associated Press

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