WHO was at fault, if any can be assigned, for the tragic self-inflicted death of Angelo T. Reyes, a veteran military and civilian official, who was parrying questions of corruption before Congress when he decided to end it all?

Among his accusers, two of them senators, said they were not responsible for his death, that they were only doing their sworn duty when they exposed what they called massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

President Benigno Aquino III, who condoled with the grieving Reyes family, asked, “Why did this happen? What’s wrong with the system? How do we correct them?” referring to the allegations of corruption by former ranking AFP generals.

The Catholic priest who officiated at the President’s birthday mass raised the spectre of “more suicide cases” as Congress continues its investigation.

Fr. Arnold Abelardo, however, said the probe should not stop in order to promote the search for truth “and our commitment for good governance.”

In a Christian gesture, the Senate plans to temporarily suspend the hearing until Reyes is buried.

But Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile justified proceeding with the inquiry in aid of legislation, particularly in connection with the plea bargain between former AFP comptroller Carlos Garcia and the Ombudsman.

Under this deal, the plunder charge against Garcia was reduced to direct bribery which enabled him to post bond for his temporary liberty.

In the course of this inquiry, a retired military budget officer and later joined by his former assistant who is still in active service, divulged that several former AFP chiefs of staff, including the deceased, had received illegal cash payments reaching up to one billion pesos for their personal use, as well as their wives who, in turned, allegedly bought several houses in the United States using these scandalous cashouts.

However, in the eyes of his classmates at the Philippine Miliary Academy, Gen. Reyes was a victim of trial by publicity, a view shared by Sen. Gregorio Honasan, a former military rebel himself.

1966 class president Col. Manuel Espejo said Reyes was not allowed to defend himself and that he might have killed himself to defend the AFP, which he served for more than 30 years.

Henceforth, it’s imperative for the AFP to perform its duty honorably and without blemish to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

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