Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has fired a number of high ranking military officers over alleged procurement fraud.
The officers, all from the military medical facility V Luna Medical Center, will all face court martial over “alleged corrupt activities”, including anomalous equipment purchases, ghost purchasing and the creation of fictitious suppliers, a presidential spokesperson said.
Brigadier General Edwin Leo Torrelavega, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Health Services Command, and Colonel Antonio Punzalan, commander of the V Luna Medical Center, were both named as officers facing court martial.
The announcement was just one of several recent high profile firings over corruption.
Speaking at a press conference on 13 August, spokesperson Harry Roque said the president’s decision was based on reports by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Carlito Galvez.
Roque said: “Based on the reports, several high-ranking officials and employees of the V Luna Medical Center health service command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines undertook anomalous purchases of equipment and engaged in fraudulent transactions including ghost purchasing, splitting of contracts to circumvent mandatory bidding processes, and conceiving fictitious suppliers.
“President Duterte has ordered the relief and court martial proceedings against the top military brass which includes brigadier general Edwin Leo Torrelavega, commander of the AFP Health Services Command, colonel Antonio Punzalan, commander of the V Luna Medical Center… among others.”
Separately, Duterte has also fired the Philippine Military Academy comptroller Hector Maraña over the alleged misuse of 14m pisos ($280,000) meant for allowances for cadets. Duterte signed the dismissal during a speech in front of business leaders.
During the speech, Duterte said: “Send the guy to hell. That’s an order.”
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