I had a delicious snack of pancit habhab with an ex-soldier the other day. He retired in 1998, and naturally, I asked him how it was. He said in Marcos's time, they never had problems about supplies. But thereafter, his fellow soldiers had to live for days inside their foxholes in Davao, with literally nothing. This is of course very curious, as the military budget has been steadily increasing across time from the Marcos era to the present. This conversation reminds me of a post I made sometime in July 2003 after the Oakwood mutiny, in my Rule of Force blog. I am reposting it here with slight revisions to take advantage of the 100 hits a day that I've been getting lately.
I HAD A BOARD MEETING recently in a corporation which has a retired army officer as board member. During the light moments that often precede a corporate meeting, the discussion dwelt on the Oakwood Mutiny and our friend army officer told an anecdote on military corruption.
During the time when President Ramos was still Chief of Staff, he happened to visit a small army station in the south to inspect his troops in the field. The troops had very little to eat so they served him a variety of sweet potatoes or "camote". The General loved the camotes because it was a special kind, I think the violet variety, and inquired with the men if that was all they had. The troops said, that was all. The general was stricken with pity and resolved to do something for his troops.
When the General got to his headquarters, he decided to send five sacks of rice to the army station in the South.
Of course, when the five sacks of rice got to the regional commander, he thought that it was too much for the station troops. So the regional commander sent only three and kept the two sacks for himself.
When the three sacks got to the detachment commander, he thought that three sacks was too much for the station troops. So he sent only one sack of rice and kept the two.
When the sack of rice got to the provincial commander, he thought that the troops didn't need the rice, because they had enough camotes to eat. So he got the rice and sent only the sack.
When the station troops got the sack, they asked where it came from and found out it came from General Ramos who they remembered loved the camotes so much. They thoiught he was asking for camotes. So they packed the sack with camotes and sent it to the General.
When the sack of camotes got to the provincial commander, he thought sending the camotes to the General was an insult. So he got the camotes and sent a sack of rice instead.
When the sack of rice got to the detachment commander, he thought one sack of rice was too little. So he added two more sacks of rice and sent them to the General.
When the three sacks got to the regional commander, he thought three sacks was also too little so he added two more and sent them to the General.
Finally, the five sacks of rice got to the General, and he wondered how the five sacks of rice he sent to the lowly troops in that station in the south could find their way back to him.