Former Philippine Armed Forces Chief commits suicide

14:01, February 08, 2011      

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Former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Angelo Reyes shot himself Tuesday in front of his mother's grave at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

Reyes was pronounced dead on arrival by attending physicians at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Quezon City due to a gunshot wound in the chest. Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who rushed to the QMMC, said Reyes was rushed to the hospital around 7: 45 a.m. local time without any vital signs. Ona said attending physicians tried to revive Reyes for about 45 minutes but to no avail. Reyes was pronounced dead at 8:32 a.m.

"The government wishes to express its condolences to the family of General Angelo Reyes. We urge the public to allow his loved ones their grief and privacy," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

Reports showed that Reyes visited the tomb of his parents at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City with two of his sons and security escorts at around 7 a.m. where he reportedly shot himself in the chest.

Armed Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the military was "shocked and saddened" over Reyes' suicide.

"We condole with the immediate family as to this incident," Mabanta said.

The past weeks, Reyes has been embroiled in the issue of corruption in the military. Retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, former budget officer in the Armed Forces, alleged in a recent Senate hearing that Reyes received 50 million pesos (1.14 million U.S. dollars) as send-off money upon his retirement as Armed Forces chief in March 2001.

Mabanta said that Reyes'demise could bring another "dimension" in the ongoing probe of alleged massive corruption in the military.

"This is another dimension to the ongoing investigation, and all the members of the Armed Forces and the Filipino people's quest for the truth. In the light of this incident we hope the Congress and Senate can expedite this proceeding, to ensure immediate enactment of laws in furtherance of good governance measure for the whole Armed Forces," he said.

Reyes, 65, was a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1966. He led a military uprising in March 2001 against then President Joseph Estrada, who was convicted with plunder by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

After his retirement from the Armed Forces, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who succeeded Estrada, named him as Defense Secretary. Arroyo later appointed him to the Department of Interior and Local Government and then to the Department of Energy.

He obtained his MBA at the Asian Institute of Management and a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.

Source: Xinhua

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