AFP: New corruption allegations are isolated incidents

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is once again under public scrutiny over allegations of widespread corruption in the organization.

This came after the conviction of an army officer for misusing government funds, and the dismissal of several military hospital personnel due to questionable medical supply deals.

However, AFP Spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said the allegations were isolated incidents.

"These do not reflect the vast majority of our commanders and officers in the AFP... Your Armed Forces is keen about ensuring that we are, we will, and we shall continue to be worthy of the trust of the Filipino people and the Filipino nation," said Arevalo.

In July, a military court sentenced army Lt. Col. Hector Maraña for misusing more than P15 million of the Philippine Military Academy's (PMA) funds.

Maraña was PMA treasurer for six years, serving until 2012.

AFP Spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said Maraña "left without proper turnover of financial and property accountabilities."

He added it was also uncovered that the dismissed officer lent the money to different private individuals.

Maraña, a member of PMA Class '94, was charged before the military court for violating the Articles of War, including conduct unbecoming of an officer.

He was convicted after four years of trial and appealed the decision, but it was denied.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte, as commander in chief, approved the sentence.

The punishments include imprisonment of up to 10 years, and the forfeiture of benefits. Maraña will be made to return the stolen money.

Furious President Duterte ordered the relief of more than 20 officers and personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Services Command over allegations of irregularities at the V. Luna Hospital, the military's main medical facility.

BGen. Edwin Leo Torrelavega, spoke out on Tuesday as well, and insisted he was innocent.

He expressed his frustration over how his three decades of dedicated military service as medical doctor could now end up in shame.

"Sad to say, ito pala magiging... This is the product of what I have done," he said

The two cases, however, bring back to the spotlight corruption inside the military which the AFP has been struggling to address.

From shady defense deals, the smuggling of firearms and ammunition, to the so-called "pabaon system" for retiring officers, the AFP said it continues to institute reforms to weed out corrupt practices in the organization.