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Ex-Army hospital chief faces raps

- Jaime Laude -
An Army colonel and former commanding officer of the Army’s Fort Bonifacio General Hospital (FBGH) is facing dismissal from the service for various charges — including allowing the use of expired medicines to treat soldiers.

Besides these charges, Col. William Yu was relieved from his post in June and is under investigation for allegedly misappropriating refunds from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and using spurious receipts.

"Colonel Yu was relieved from his post effective June 1 upon the recommendations of the Army’s inspector general pending further formal investigation by the Efficiency and Separation Board (ESB)," Army public information chief Lt. Col. Buenaventura Pascual said in a statement released late yesterday afternoon.

Army investigators also recommended the relief from FBGH of officers and enlisted personnel who initiated the allegations that prompted the investigation into the anomalies that allegedly involved Yu to pave the way for an impartial investigation.

Yu "is now under investigation by the ESB for allowing the use of spurious ORs(official receipts) and willfully allowing the utilization of expired medicines. His suitability and fitness to remain in the active military service is now being determined," Pascual said.

He added that the Yu investigation is part of the continuing reforms initiated by the Army leadership to remove misfits from its ranks.

Pascual said the Army is "throwing the book at all its personnel who willfully disregard the rule of law as it welcomes any investigation on alleged corruption committed by its personnel" — be they ranking officers or enlisted personnel.

As this developed, moves by the leadership of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAAI) to remove controversial Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia from its list of members has angered several active PMA officers.

The group, composed mostly of military officers involved in intelligence work, said the PMAAAI should be circumspect enough not to be judgmental of its members.

These veteran military officers questioned the actions taken by PMAAAI president Chief Superintendent Geary Barias. "In the first place, who is Chief Superintendent Geary Barias? Is he himself clean? How about the three percent cut that goes to his office from each of Camp Crame’s projects?"

The officers said that while scandals within the AFP should be addressed, it would also be unfair for the PMAAAI to just dump Garcia, whose guilt has yet to be proven.

"If (Garcia) is guilty, by all means he should not just be dismissed from the service - he should be shot," one of the officers said. "But, for the meantime, isn’t it prudent for the PMAAAI to at least be neutral on the issue?"

The PMAAAI, through Barias, announced that it is planning to drop Garcia from the rolls because the accusations of graft and unexplained wealth leveled against Garcia are humiliating to the rest of the group.

Garcia is a member of the PMA Class ’71, whose members include controversial former Sen. Gregorio Honasan and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, now Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Garcia faces charges before civilian and military courts for his allegedly amassing wealth beyond his means while acting as comptroller of the AFP for three years.

He has been suspended and is detained to quarters under heavy guard.

AN ARMY

ARMY

BUENAVENTURA PASCUAL

CAMP CRAME

CARLOS GARCIA

CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT GEARY BARIAS

COLONEL YU

EFFICIENCY AND SEPARATION BOARD

GARCIA

YU

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