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Thursday, April 28, 2011

HEIDI MENDOZA: Became the truth-telling dragonslayer of graft and corruption

"Hindi ka puwedeng mangarap lang na magkaroon ng malinis na pamahalaan, kailangan mag-ambag ka at mangapital ng oras."

February 19, 2011, 7:42pm MANILA, Philippines

Before Heidi Lloce Mendoza became the truth-telling dragonslayer of graft and corruption, she was first and foremost, a Sanrio Princess!

The seventh child in a brood of eight, Heidi grew up in Mindoro as a spoiled girl, with older siblings who were able to cater to her whims. But a meeting with a Scruffy Activist would change the course of her life for good.

"Isa akong Sanrio girl. Punong-puno ng Sanrio characters at ribbons ang aking ulo. Mukha akong manika, manika ng mangkukulam," she recalls with a laugh. "Then dumating si Roy, mahaba ang buhok at makapal ang bigote at balbas. Walang appeal sa akin, mukhang poor!" read more......


by Joyce Panares and Rey Requejo

The Department of Justice will form a panel of investigators to build cases of corruption in the military based on the exposes made before a congressional inquiry by retired Colonel George Rabusa, Lt. Col. Antonio Ramon "Sonny" Lim and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced the plan on Tuesday even as Palace officials said they would ask the United Nations for help in sorting out the paper trail involving a $5 million check it issued to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the UN department of peacekeeping operations has promised to assist if requested while maintaining that the diversion of UN funds is a "national matter."

Mendoza, one of the whistleblowers, alleged that a high-ranking military officer who she did not name, personally took the UN check in New York in January 2001. The alleged diversion of the UN donation surfaced during a congressional probe of the plea bargain agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller

Carlos Garcia, whose case of plunder amplified the wide-ranging corruption in the Armed Forces, according to lawmakers. De Lima said she was considering tapping some legal luminaries who could help the Justice department prosecute the grafters and corrupt officers in the uniformed service. De Lima said that she had an idea who was protecting Garcia, but she declined to identify the person. "I also have some idea as to who that person is. But I'm adopting the same stand as that of the President. Let's wait for the evidence first before I make the announcement," she said. De Lima vowed to take on the job of going after Garcia's protector and gathering evidence if the case were assigned to her department."

I'm actually waiting for the complaint affidavit of Col. Rabusa and perhaps Col. Lim and also from Heidi Mendoza before the the panel can do a preliminary investigation," she said. It was Rabusa who exposed the practice in the military to grant send-off money to a retiring generals, particularly the chief of staff.

Amid the congressional inquiry into the practice, former military chief Angelo Reyes, one of the heroes of Edsa 2 that toppled the Estrada regime, shot himself on the day he was to testify before a House panel. De Lima said the DOJ is also in the process of creating a panel to handle the Rabusa case. "But that will not preclude the creation of other panels to handle other cases that cannot be legally consolidated with the Rabusa's complaint," she said.

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