Ambassador Cimatu returns from ME mission; denies involvement in AFP scam

February 9, 2011 11:54 am 

MANILA, Feb. 9 — Former Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff and Special Envoy Roy Cimatu arrived at 10:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) aboard a United Arab Emirates Airline flight EK-334 from Dubai.

Cimatu, who just finished his mission to Afghanistan and the Middle East, spent two weeks in Afghanistan to check on the condition of the more than 4,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.

“In Afghanistan, I was able to consult with various officials in Bagram Air Base in Northern Afghanistan, Kabul and Kandajar, were most of our workers are under the employ of private companies contracted to provide services to the allied forces. However, their continued stay is now under review in light of the deployment ban imposed,” Cimatu said.

Asked on the issue of his involvement in the Armed Forces multi-million peso scandals, Cimatu vehemently denied any participation in the alleged scam and irregularities at the AFP during his short stint as Chief of Staff from May to September 2002.

He categorically denied that he receives any funds for personal use from anybody in the AFP.

Cimatu added that he welcomes the opportunity to clear the air and he is ready to face any investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations anytime.

He called on the people not to speculate and said that he will have the opportunity to present his side of the story during the senate committee hearing next week, where he is scheduled to appear.

Cimatu was accused, together with former AFP chief Angelo Reyes, by whistle-blower George Rabusa in a Senate hearing last week.

In his declaration at the Senate, Rabusa said Cimatu received P80 million in send-off money while Diomedio Villanueva had been allotted P164 million upon retirement. Rabusa said Angelo Reyes got P50 million in send-off money.

The amounts were purportedly on top of the P5 million that was given monthly to Cimatu, Villanueva and Reyes when they were the AFP chiefs of staff, and the P10 million in welcome money for Cimatu and Villanueva. (PNA)

DCT/OTO/mec

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