• P1.2-B HELICOPTER DEAL

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    Blue Ribbon panel summons state auditors

    THE Senate committee on accountability of public officers and investigations, better known as the blue ribbon committee, will summon officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) to shed light on why they issued notices of suspension on three big ticket Defense Department contracts, including the P1.2-billion Huey helicopter deal.

    Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, said inputs coming from the COA would be crucial in determining possible violations committed in the procurement of 21 units of refurbished UH-1 helicopters made under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

    Guingona said he decided to invite the COA officials in the next hearing after The Manila Times reported last week that state auditors have issued audit observation memorandum (AOM) on three different aircraft procurement contracts,

    According to the Manila Times report the state auditing body red-flagged the procurement projects due to certain “deficiencies”.

    The AOM and the notice to suspend also covers the P18.9 billion acquisition of 12 fighter jets from South Korea in 2013 and the P4.8 billion procurement of eight Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters in 2014 which have a total combined amount of P25 billion.

    Guingona said the blue ribbon committee would resume its hearing on the controversial chopper deal on July 7 wherein whistleblower Rhodora Alvarez will again take the stand to reveal more details on the P1.25-billion chopper deal.

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