The death of former defense secretary Angelo Reyes, from an apparent suicide, has political implications far beyond its immediate impact on the ongoing corruption case against former AFP comptroller Carlos Garcia. It has thrown wide open the door to more corruption investigations, confirmed the fragility of the defense of the past GMA administration, developed the political battle to a new and more dangerous level, and basically underscored the changing political climate towards a strengthened democracy.
In a sense, the apparent Reyes suicide is a political gambit to stop further inroads into his own complicity in the corruption both in the AFP and in the GMA administration. It also ended a promising lead into the political maneuvers towards accession to power and the political survival of the Arroyo family.
It remains to be seen if he left a legacy that will clear his name or else drag it further into the political wilderness. Angelo Reyes is both a victim and practitioner of the paternalistic relations that is the hall mark of traditional politics in the country. His is the dilemma of a soldier-politician who forayed into the tempting, if illusory, dark side of politics–and left with the proverbial empty bag.
Unfortunately there are more Angelo Reyeses out there. Time will tell if they come clean with their stories, fight it out in the courts, hearings or elsewhere, or as what happened to Reyes, removal from the chessboard.