News agencies scramble for rare opportunity to use the words ‘probe’ and ‘lubricant’ in meaningful headlines.
(Manila) The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday the temporary removal of Commodore Teddy Pan, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistic pending an investigation into certain irregularities regarding fuel and lubricant purchases.
Pan was relieved after persistent reports suggested he reported an appropriation of P400M worth of fuel and lubricants for the first quarter of 2011 which far exceeded the authorized amount of P150M.
The AFP insists the P400M figure is ‘preposterous’ and that a proper investigation is yet to be concluded.
“It’s too early to be jumping to conclusions as of now. Some of the sources we are reviewing are saying that the amount got bloated because they mixed the budget for engine oil with that of personal lubricants.” Colonel Ramon de Juan of the AFP Public Information Office said.
De Juan refused to answer how much money was slated for personal lubricants in the AFP’s budget for the same period.
“How much we spend on personal lubricants and what we use it for is classified information.” de Juan said.
Meanwhile, a few members of the House of Representatives have already expressed their intention to investigate the matter.
“Maybe the AFP wants to treat this as an internal matter but they must respect the fact that the house can probe anyone it wishes… oils or not… lubricants or not.” Ilocos Representative Ramon Vergara said in an interview.
Vergara has also called for the disclosure of the AFP’s budget for personal lubricants.
“I’m just curious… how much personal lubricant is in their possession? Where is it stored? Is it under heavy guard? Are there records on the activities they are used for? Is it available online? Can I download it?” the congressman said.