Government Service (1967-2010)
By: Vice Admiral Ariston V Delos Reyes AFP (Ret.)
March 18, 2010
In the afternoon of March 9, 2010, I received a letter from the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) informing that I am recalled from my duty as Undersecretary for Internal Affairs, Department of National Defense (USIA, DND) and further directed me to report to OES. (I had been a Presidential Assistant I with the rank of Undersecretary and seconded to DND.) On same day, I called up the Acting Secretary of National Defense (ASND) who instructed that I would, in the meantime, continue performing my duties. On March 10, ASND further informed that he was not aware of the recall. On March 11, as instructed, I reported to the Executive Secretary (ES) who informed that due to reorganization, my designation was terminated.
I requested for and he informed that he did not know the reason for the sudden termination. I mentioned that I could have been allowed to continue serving in the government for about three months more until June 30. Otherwise, it would be construed as a result of bad performance or for an offense. Indeed, I felt that it was so untimely because for the past three years as USIA, I initiated and implemented projects and activities that would enhance administrative services and information system management at DND Proper, as well as professionalism in the bureaucracy and the AFP. Moreover, recently, I initiated reports on two incidents involving two DND officials whom I recommended for investigation. With the termination of my duty, the civilian and military personnel who are aware of the aforementioned might find it hard to understand if indeed true and honest-to-goodness reforms in the DND-AFP are ongoing. Thus, I requested, if possible, for an
audience with the President regarding the matter. After all, on two occasions in the past, the President granted me the privilege of having an audience with her for personal and official reasons. The ES informed that the request would be acted upon accordingly. I furnished him copies of the reports on erring DND officials and on his advice, a handwritten note on my accomplishments as USIA.
On the evening of March 15, the Chief of Staff to ASND informed that the Department received a letter from the Executive Secretary terminating my services immediately.
On March 16, I received that letter dated March 10. Since I have no designated replacement yet, I instructed the Assistant Secretary for Personnel to report to the Office of the Secretary for guidance. Initially, I recommended that he be designated as OIC of the Office of USIA, while waiting for my duly designated replacement. In the afternoon, I requested for a departure call on ASND. He said it was regretful that he could not do anything about the termination and offered that if I wanted to, I could still continue serving the DND as a consultant. Politely, I thanked him and begged off. When asked what I intend to do after government service, I answered, “Fade away, Sir.”
I started government service as a PMA cadet on April 1, 1967, a teenager. It ended on March 15, 2010, as a senior citizen at the age of 60. (Please refer to the highlights of my 43 years in government service.)
Summary of Accomplishments as USIA (2007-2010)
1. Initiated the procurement of 29 brand new staff cars (25 already delivered in 2009) by recommending to the Department of Budget and Management the realignment of savings in Maintenance and Operating Expenses (MOOE) into Capital Outlay. It was met with skepticism when I proposed it in 2007. My constant reply was “What have we to lose in trying it?” In the same manner, P26 million worth of computers, softwares and related equipment had been funded and for public bidding by PITC in 2010, a government procurement firm.
2. Required the use of red plates (for official use only) for all government vehicles except those authorized by SND to use civilian plates.
3. Ordered the use of available vehicles for shuttling employees to and from their residences at no cost to them.
4. Initiated the complete renovation of the DND Building façade, hallways and offices by utilizing the AFP engineers in order to save government funds and expedite repairs. Lights utilized are in accordance with the ENERCON policy of the government. All restrooms were renovated, to include the installation of waterless male urinals. The long-unfinished motor pool office was finally completed. The decrepit SND Cottage at Cabinet Hill, Baguio City is now undergoing restoration/renovation to be completed in two months. Renovation of other DND offices, landscaping and repair of the parking shade are funded and for implementation in 2010.
5. Equipped and made operational the empty fitness center for use by DND personnel. Users are provided towel, drinking water and hot shower at no expense.
6. Operationalized the DND medical and dental clinic by ordering the repair of dental chairs and increasing its annual allocation from P200,000 to P5.4 million effective 2007. Expanded its clientele from all personnel of DND Proper only by also including the employees of all DND civilian agencies. Thus, personnel now avail of free laboratory services and even maintenance medicines for diabetes, high cholesterol, gout, and cardio vascular diseases.
7. Ordered the procurement of dinner wares with DND logo (plates, cups, saucers, etc) for use of all DND offices during conferences.
8. Ordered the activation of the DND Cooperative to provide reasonably priced snacks and meals to employees. In one and half years of operation, it generated sales of about P5 million and gave dividends to member employees equivalent to 1000% or ten times per share. My order to establish it was met with skepticism, doubts and fears that it was a losing proposition. At the start, the fund was so short that I even donated some equipment/utensils for the Canteen. Lately, I so ordered and the cooperative is now capable of renovating or even build houses for members at about P9,500 per square meter of floor area.
9. Initiated the shift from the use of bundy clocks to electronic daily time recording system for DND Proper. To expedite its implementation in 2009, I donated the two electronic machines.
10. Professionalism in the Bureaucracy:
a. Pursued the finalization of the DND Rationalization Plan which was submitted to DBM in 2009 for approval.
b. Conduct of annual team building activities since 2007.
c. Fund support for employees taking up CSEE and Civil Service Examinations.
d. Exerted efforts to recruit the best qualified candidates to fill up vacant positions.
e. Pursued the prosecution of disciplinary cases of personnel, to include those involving moral turpitude-pilferage, submitting false transcript of records, etc.
11. Chaired the investigation of the night capable attack helicopter project, the result of which was considered credible and generally accepted by the public. Consequently, one Assistant Secretary’s service was outrightly terminated while other senior officials were reported by SND to the Ombudsman for further investigation.
12. Conducted investigations, as directed by the former Secretary of National Defense, on important concerns such as reported alleged non-compliance to bidding procedure, and such other confidential matters.
13. Advocated the adoption of comprehensive DND wide-Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP) in cooperation with the Development Academy of the Philippines and the Office of the Ombudsman. The Philippine Defense Reform Fund shall support it. Likewise, the appropriate ISO accreditation of selected DND agencies/offices shall be pursued and funded under the PDR program.
Reports on Erring DND officials
1. Dishonesty by an Undersecretary, as OIC, DND –
On October 23, 2009, I filed a complaint against an Undersecretary (Usec) in his capacity as OIC, DND for dishonesty. He approved the memorandum of the President National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) without the benefit of the usual completed staff work and which allowed his son from the private sector to attend the Masters in National Security Administration (MNSA) Class at government expense. He signed the Department Order for the admission of only additional nine (9) students to the MNSA since he deemed it appropriate for the SND himself to approve the waivers needed by two other applicants. In the order, his son appeared to be an accepted candidate without any disqualification. Later on, it turned out that the son needed two waivers namely: age requirement since he was only 33 years instead of 35 years old upon entry; and positional requirements for an applicant coming from the private sector who must be a senior executive in what NDCP considers as “Captains of Industry”. Thus, the signing of the order by the Usec was dishonesty because it did not indicate any waiver for his son. The order was misleading by making it appear that he satisfied all the entry requirements, which was false.
The complaint became a factor for the former SND not to recommend the Usec for extension of service as he was turning 65 in December 2009.
Nevertheless, upon assumption, the ASND recommended the extension which was granted by the Office of the President for a period of 90 days only.
By February 2010, the Usec was recommended again for another extension of service. Since my complaint had not been acted upon, I wrote the President, thru ASND, on February 3, 2010 recommending that the matter be investigated. Hence, the complaint was forwarded to the Office of the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC).
2. Illegal Possession of Assorted Munition by an Assistant Secretary –
On March 8, 2010, I submitted a report to ASND on numerous and assorted munition, serviceable and unserviceable, which were found among the personal belongings of an Assistant Secretary (Asec) while they were being transferred from his former office to the Records Room on March 5, 2010. The Asec was relieved from that office almost two years ago but he continued to use the room as a storage for his belongings. Among the reported serviceable munition were one hand-smoke and two fragmentation grenades, one round 81 mm mortar, one round 60 mm mortar, and nine packets of propellant charges. Small arms ammunition included 420 rounds 5.56 mm, 200 rounds Caliber .45, and various rounds for other types of small arms.
I had to order the transfer of said belongings after he failed to remove them from his former room despite previous verbal and written advice. The room was earmarked for a Director assigned to said office since February 18. His continued refusal was an affront to good order and discipline in the Department and therefore could not be tolerated.
From hindsight, had I not persisted in having the subject transfer, there could hardly be a way the Department would ever know that the Asec illegally possessed a cache of serviceable munition and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Ironically, same was stored against regulations in the vicinity or just under where ASND holds office. Such mode of ammunition storage endangered the safety of life and property of DND personnel.
I hope the PAGC will conduct the investigation of the case. I have noted with great concern the biased and subjective investigations recently conducted by some officials of the Department.
While in the service, I had always endeavored to use government funds properly and wisely; no “hanky panky” was my constant guidance/frequent reminder to people working with me. I believe in the principle of setting the example. Professionalism in the military and in the bureaucracy is a must. I have always been supportive of genuine reforms in government. The doctrine of completed staff work had helped me a lot both in office and field duties.
Some saying/adages which have helped me in life:
1. Nasa Diyos ang awa; nasa tao ang gawa.
2. Kung gusto may paraan; kung ayaw may dahilan.
3. Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.
4. Think out of the box.
5. Know your enemy, know yourself; a hundred battles, a hundred victories.
6. Wise men learn; fools never.
7. Evil prevails when decent people do nothing.
When my dad’s article came out, it was featured in a blog and got a lot of mixed responses.
Thank goodness for these guys who posted very supportive comments. Haha, I know who you are!
1. Really now, Mr. Malibogpa (some intell officer maybe, who tried to paint my dad as corrupt), where have you been getting such speculations? “…he must have gotten millions of pesos in conversion money from the AFP”… “he could have sold diesel fuels intended for boats and ships”… “he could not have come clean in his entire military career”… Your condescending “must have’s” and “could have’s” are just too weak to tarnish a sterling reputation.
Thank you for mentioning that he was “using government military supplied vehicles and government quarters in his entire military career”. It seemed rather pointless, though, because we all know that he was entitled to them during his “entire military career” anyway.
If I were your intell instructor, I’d place a Dunce cap on your head!
2. Dragging his family into this has got to be the dirtiest, most feeble, most pathetic trick in the world. That’s the best you could do to divert people’s attention from the real issues? Couldn’t find any skeletons in the closet now, could you, Mr. Malibogpa? If you truly believe in the things that you’ve been accusing Sir Aris of, then quit hiding behind such an absurd and creepy log on ID. Show us some proof of what you’ve been saying.
What government vehicles? What shopping sprees? And “class” na eskuwela? I know for a fact that his children graduated from UST and UP. Obviously, such schools are way beyond your league but do you really have to take it against the children just because they got into these schools?
Says you: “Saan galing yang mga ginastos nyan? Di ba sa military.” There’s a term for this. Oh, wait. It’s called a ‘monthly income’.
And here’s more: “Ang anak nya na nag intern sa V. Luna ay pinabigyan nya ng sweldo ng isang Lieutenant sa loob ng isang taon.” Was she? Because she had the rank of a lieutenant when she interned in that hospital.
And here’s more (oh dear, you really should have stopped. You already had us at hello): “Yang si Ariston de los Reyes ay “feeling” napakagaling, napakalinis at napakabuti.” Well, I guess he really is, compared to you and the people you are working with.
So please, Mr. Malibogpa, quit the juvenile name-calling, quit the empty accusations and most of all, quit the worn-out (un)intell tactics. You’re definitely no Tom Clancy.
Folks, it’s time to get back to the real issues.
And considering that the pyrolympics had just ended a few weeks ago, one cannot help but wonder what the purpose of the illegal munition and unexploded ordnance found in the DND premises was…
Maldita Til Death
From AnnaDeBrux (a regular blogger):
…”If Aquino wins and he hasn’t made up yet the list of names that would form his cabinet, the presidentiable should look at de los Reyes as a possible candidate for the post [Defence Sec.).”
I’ve been with DND for a long time and I know it’s so maldita of me but I have to admit, my eyes would probably glint with wicked glee whenever Usec De los Reyes catches and reprimands crooked employees. The department requires a long overdue massive clean up and who better to do that than Mr. Clean himself?
Good luck then (and buhbye!) to the very laxative employees who: come in at 8:30 in the morning, have a coffee break at 9:30, go off to lunch at 11, come back at 1:30, gossip about fellow employees at 2, another coffee break at 3, prepare to go home at 4, zoom out of the office at barely 5pm…employees who ask others to ‘bundy clock’ for them while they go gallivanting elsewhere (and the ‘bundy clockers’ of the gallivanters!) employees with surprisingly high SGs who are unqualified, who barely know how to use computers, who have fake school diplomas (I think Usec De los Reyes filed a report against an employee who is in the managerial level who actually had counterfeit diploma/s. But well, as expected, the case was stalled, disregarded, then left to rot somewhere along with the rest of the deep dark secrets of the department. So fake-diplo-employee continues to work in the department. It could be because fake-diplo-employee is someone close to the Usec mentioned in Usec. De los Reyes’ case #1… tsk, tsk. Usec-cas-#1, you are so ekis talaga!)
Sounds like Andres Malaya (an alias of some blogger) knows exactly what I’m talking about (and knows even more):
“Kapares lang ng mga may kaso ngayon sa DND. Nagagalit sila sa kanya dahil sinampahan sila ng reklamo. May mga tao na nagsumite ng pekeng dokumento. May mga tao na sangkot sa pagbebenta ng kasangkapan diyan sa motorpool. May mga tao na sangkot sa anomalya sa bidding ng mga gamit ng AFP. Hanggang ngayon wala pa rin hatol sa mga lumabag sa batas at patakaran na yan.”
How dirty and grimy this department is! There may be a few who were maliciously glad when Usec De los Reyes left (safe na uli sila! Pwede na uli gumagawa ng kabalastugan! Wheee), but there are many of us who were deeply saddened and disappointed to see him go. He could have done so much more.
Everyone knows how devoted Adm delos Reyes is to the PMA ideals of courage, integrity, and loyalty, how genuinely committed he was during active service in the AFP and then as an undersecretary in DND. I have had the honor of working with him for a few years and during those times, he never showed a single streak of vindictiveness or dishonesty. He treated everyone equally and with respect, from those in the lower ranks to high ranking officials. It is a bit distressing to find out that his uprightness, his steadfastness, his firm commitment to follow the rules are misconstrued by some small-minded individuals as vindictiveness or even bitterness.
So thank you, VAdm Ariston Delos Reyes, sir, for writing your letter although we are familiar with most of the contents of them anyway. Rest assured that the majority of those in the military and defense establishment, especially those who know you well do not believe a single bad word that others have been saying against you and your family.