50 percent rebel cash aid diverted to commanders?

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
50 percent rebel cash aid diverted to commanders?
Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., answers questions from the national defense and security, peace, unification and reconciliation committee, chaired by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, as it probes the alleged delays in the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces and their weapons.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said yesterday he received information that 50 percent of the P100,000 cash assistance for decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members was diverted to their former commanders.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, peace, unification and reconciliation, made the revelation as the Senate resumed inquiry into the delays of the decommissioning process.

“I talked to your former members – who requested anonymity for fear of their safety – and they told me their commanders asked for a 50 percent cut from the P100,000 cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Estrada said.

“I’m worried that the brigade commanders might use the money to buy arms. It is as if the government gave the MILF the funding for arms purchase. And that is quite possible,” he added.

Mohajirin Ali, head of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Secretariat, said an investigation is ongoing to look into the alleged corruption.

“During the decommissioning process, commanders should not interfere with the extended interventions, especially the cash. The MILF leadership will not tolerate this practice and commanders caught will be subject to disciplinary action,” Ali said.

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace implementing panel chairman, has been informed of the allegation that his commanders were getting a cut from the welfare aid, according to Cesar Yano, co-chairman of the Philippine government peace implementing panel.

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