A former head of the Philippine defence forces facing allegations of graft died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday shortly before he had been due to face lawmakers investigating corruption in the military.
Angelo Reyes, 65, and some senior military officers have been accused of receiving payoffs and misappropriating military funds.
He had been due to appear before a House of Representatives inquiry on corruption in the military on Tuesday, but had sent a letter saying he did not think his appearance was necessary.
Reyes, who visited his mother's grave on Tuesday morning, died from a single shot to the chest, Health Secretary Enrique Ona told reporters.
Reyes was considered a hero in the 2001 uprising that toppled former president Joseph Estrada after withdrawing military support from the government and backing Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, then the vice-president, to assume power.
He went on to hold four positions in Arroyo's cabinet, including a stint as Defense Secretary. He lost a bid for a seat in Congress in the May 2010 elections.
Reyes was thrust into the centre of Congressional inquiries into corruption after the government opposed a plea bargain agreement between state prosecutors and a former military comptroller, who had served under Reyes, facing plunder charges for amassing unexplained wealth.
Retired Major-General Carlos Garcia was accused of amassing more than 300 million pesos, acquiring a luxury high-rise apartment in New York, after diverting army funds into his personal accounts when he was the military comptroller in the early 2000s.
Last December, Garcia was allowed to post bail after he entered into a plea bargain deal, admitting guilt to an indirect bribery charges and offering to return half of the questioned wealth.
On Monday, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, a son of former president Estrada, told the Senate inquiry that wives of some generals, including Reyes, had used diverted military funds for travel and to buy properties in the United States.
"He was very depressed because he felt he was being made a scapegoat and the inquiry has become too personal," Rex Robles, a retired commodore and a close friend of Reyes, told Reuters.
ReutersLast Mod: 08 Şubat 2011, 10:50