[PHOTOS - President Aquino gestures during news conference after command conference with military and defence officials at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city]

MANILA, FEBRUARY 17, 2011 (STAR) By Delon Porcalla - In the face of congressional inquiries into alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), President Aquino held a command conference at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.

The Commander-in-Chief said he had to relay to the chain of command the sentiments of his former colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives in light of the magnitude of anomalies uncovered.

“This (command conference) is the effect of those congressional hearings. I wanted to share with them (military) exactly what certain members of Congress have imparted to me,” Aquino told reporters following the meeting with top brass at Camp Aguinaldo.

Being the commander-in-chief, Aquino said he had to get inputs from the military top brass on how to address the issue and provide solutions to the problems besetting the AFP leadership.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the conference was a regular meeting between the military and the commander-in-chief, but admitted Aquino wanted to check on the morale of the troops following the scandal.

“This does not mean that when something happened, there would be a meeting. It’s a regular command conference scheduled with the commander-in-chief. These (issues) have an effect that’s why he wanted to see the morale of the troops,” Gazmin said.

Gazmin claimed the controversies involving the supposed misuse of military funds has not put a dent on the soldiers’ morale.

“We were saying that it has not affected the morale of the troops,” he said.

AFP chief Gen. Ricardo David Jr., for his part, claimed the morale of the troops was boosted by the recent capture of top communist leaders.

David was referring to the capture of New People’s Army (NPA) commander Tirso Alcantara and Alan Jazmines, a ranking member of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The President noted the recent capture of the top communist rebel leaders might have boosted the morale of the troops.

He said the capture of the rebel leaders demonstrates that the AFP is doing its job. – With Alexis Romero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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