Covering military corruption: Investigative and explanatory pieces led the way
by Hector Bryant L. Macale
Published in the January – February 2011 issue of PJR Reports
The allegedly rampant corruption in the military was in the news again after former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, initially charged of plunder and money laundering, posted bail last Dec. 17, 2010. The live TV coverage of the congressional investigations following the bail and the regular reports from newspapers, broadcast organizations as well as websites ensured that the controversy and the issues surrounding it were a top news story in December and in the first two months of 2011.
Most of the background information and context the public needed to understand and even remember on Garcia’s case came from news organizations such as Newsbreak (which have been reporting Garcia’s case since 2004 as well as other cases of military corruption), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and VERA Files. There were some efforts too by major organizations such as ABS-CBN 2, ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), GMA-7 and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Garcia, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller from March 2001 to Oct. 2004 who allegedly amassed P303.27 million in ill-gotten wealth, posted bail after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of direct bribery and money laundering in the plunder case. With his case the subject of a pending plea bargaining agreement, Garcia was released from detention in Camp Crame in Quezon City.