Former Philippines' Defense Secretary commits suicide amidst fraud allegations

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes on Tuesday committed suicide at the Loyola Memorial Park in the Metro manila area in Philippines, the state-run PNA news agency reported.

Reyes, also former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff (CoS), killed himself in front of the tomb of his mother in Marikina City. He was in the middle of various investigations targeting corruption in the military.

The former secretary shot himself in the chest aiming at the heart wit a .45 caliber pistol. He was transported to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Quezon City but was pronounced dead on arrival at about 8:32 a.m. local time.

Reyes, 65, was with his two sons, an aide and driver, visiting his mother's grave at the memorial park. He asked them to leave and wait in the car at about 7 a.m. local time. Witnesses said that he said "sorry" before pulling the trigger.

President Benigno Aquino III extended his condolences to the family of the former Defense Secretary. Aquino added that he was shocked by the reports of Reyes' apparent suicide.

The Philippines' Senate decided to defer activities on Tuesday due to the suicide of the former secretary. The Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) announced that they will offer military honors to the family of Reyes.

Reyes had been under investigations by the the Senate, House of Representatives and the DND after former AFP budget officer Col. George Rabusa told the a Senate Committee that Reyes received 50 million Philippines Pesos ($1.15 million) in send off money upon his retirement as military chief.

This information began an investigation on massive corruption in the military during the time Rabusa served as budget officer. Aside from Reyes, former AFP officers Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia are under investigation as well.

Reyes, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class ’66, was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces under President Joseph Estrada, and Secretary of Defense, Interior and Local Government, and Energy during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2003.

In 2000, Reyes led the AFP in a successful military campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)hat led to the capture of almost all of the encampments of the secessionist group, including MILF’s main stronghold Camp Abubakar in Central Mindanao region.


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