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IN A way, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Cabinet toward the end of her regime could be described as “star-studded.” Arroyo, after all, had a habit of appointing retired star-rank generals to key positions in her official family.

LATE evening last Feb. 4, Friday, a long-time source suddenly called. Would I be free for brunch the next day, he asked. He wanted to consult me on something important. We met the next day and he bared his purpose: Angelo ‘Angie’ T. Reyes, the former Armed Forces chief of staff and Defense secretary, wanted to see me so he could tell his story to “an independent journalist” – would I want to interview him? The source happened to be a senior trusted associate of Angie for the last decade or so.

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