Defense Chief Lauds PVAO's Anti-Fixers Accomplishments
Representing President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alumni Homecoming, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin once again lauded the anti-fixers accomplishments of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office on February 18, 2012 at Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Baguio City.
The Defense Chief underscored the agenda of the present government in reclaiming the ideals of transparency, good governance, and accountability in public service. Citing that reforms are being implemented to address serious doubts on the integrity and capability of the country's defense and military, he then noted the intensified PVAO campaign against fraud and fixing.
The agency has constituted the PVAO Anti-Fixers Task Group (PATG) and an Anti-Fraud Section (AFS) under its Legal Affairs Division (LAD) as its prosecuting arm. As of present, the PVAO Anti-Fixer Task Group (PATG) handles a total of 59 fixing-related cases - 44 of these were already filed in court, four are currently being investigated while the remaining 11 cases were dismissed due to either the witnesses' failure to appear in court or insufficient evidence. The AFS has also filed charges against 76 individuals who are allegedly engaged in fixing and fraud activities.
More importantly, the PVAO-LAD has instituted a Legal Assistance Section that assists claimants with documentary and other legal requirements to facilitate their applications for benefit in order to protect these claimants from the fixers. It also provides legal assistance and representation in cases filed by claimants / beneficiaries against fixers. The agency is also enthusiastically pursuing efforts embodied in its Moral Recovery Action Plan (MRAP) and Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP) toward the President's Matuwid na Daan platform of good governance.
"Today, I am proud to tell you of our concrete achievements in bringing the values of good governance to the military. Before I go on, allow me to thank you for the role that many of you have played in this.
We have negated serious malpractices in our bureaucracy. Computerization has allowed us to be transparent about the state of our financial resources; and we have strictly complied with all legal and auditing requirements in our procurement process. None of us here today want to relive the scandals of graft and corruption that rocked our military over a year ago.
But the success we have had so far only means that much work remains to be done. There are still some who refuse to join us in these reforms. Our PVAO Administrator, Cavalier Carolina has been hard at work in ridding the agency of fixers and other unscrupulous individuals who heartlessly victimize our veterans. As a consequence, he has apparently been the subject of a retaliatory harassment case filed against him by the employee against whom he has filed an extortion case.
I wish to assure Cavalier Carolina that he has my support in all his efforts to rid our PVAO of undesirable elements who choose to prey on our veterans, instead of honoring and respecting them. I know that what is good and just will triumph. These are hurdles we can surpass easily so long as we remain committed to our mandate."
Source : DND - OPLA
SND Orders Intensified Drive Against Fixers
Guided by the Matuwid na Daan platform of governance of President Benigno C. Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin ordered the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to intensify its campaign against fraud and fixing that deprive genuine veterans and their legitimate beneficiaries of their benefits from the State.
PVAO Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina thus stepped-up the anti-fixing drive and led the crackdown against fraud and fixing syndicate groups operating within Camp Gen. Emilio Aquinaldo.
It will be recalled that during PVAO's founding anniversary last September wherein the SND was the guest of honor, Sec. Gazmin lauded the accomplishments of PVAO's Anti-Fraud Section - Legal Affairs Division (LAD) which successfully acted upon 226 cases against fixers and fraudsters.
"Your creation and operation of PVAO's Anti-Fraud and Anti-Fixers Task Force in coordination with intelligence and law enforcement agencies have resulted in the arrests of fixers and fraudulent claimants, and their subsequent prosecution in our courts of law. I am also aware of the legal assistance and services made available by PVAO's Legal Affairs Division to our pensioners who were victimized by fixers. You have really done a great help to your veterans, from the documentation of evidences, and building of strong cases against the perpetrators until the litigation of their cases in court," Sec. Gazmin said.
Administrator Carolina said that out of the 226 fraud and claims fixing cases being referred to by Sec. Gazmin, 45 cases have been filed in court and are now in varying stages of prosecution. Ten of these cases were filed during the PVAO anniversary, coincidentally timing with the Defense Secretary's visit. The offenders who were caught red-handed in a series of entrapment operations were jailed outright. "We are set to file more cases in court as there are 89 more cases undergoing investigation, collection of evidence and completion of documentation. In addition, PVAO also handles 31 cases awaiting complete documentation aside from the 19 cases which require official status reports from our partner agencies," Administrator Carolina disclosed.
During weekly flag ceremony, the Administrator tirelessly exhorts the management, employees, clientele and stakeholders of PVAO in fighting the ills of fraud and fixing that deprive the legitimate veterans and their dependents of State-administered benefits. He underscored that fixers cannot and will not thrive in a hostile environment and enjoined employees to ostracize those among their ranks who engage in fixing activities and continue to besmirch the reputation of the agency.
Relatedly, he instructed Atty. Rolando D. Villaflor, LAD Chief, to sustain the momentum gained by the anti-fraud & anti-fixer drive by encouraging more whistleblowers to report employees who engage in fixing and file all applicable charges against them. He also ordered the review of 46 cases that are considered closed either due to lack of cause of action, failure of complainants to appear, or archived due to insufficiency of evidence. He also reminded PVAO claimants to refrain from conniving with fixers & fraudsters as this may cause the termination of their benefits.