• COA grounds P25-B aircraft deals

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    Fighter jets, VIP helicopters red-flagged

    JUST as the nation’s military is racing against time to build up its air defense capabilities amid tensions in the South China Sea, the Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the suspension of three aircraft acquisition deals forged by the Defense department after state auditors red-flagged them for irregularities.

    Documents obtained by The Manila Times said the contracts, with a combined value of nearly P25 billion, included the P1.2-billion helicopter contract, which this paper had exposed and is the subject of ongoing Senate blue ribbon investigation.

    Also cited in COA’s notice to the Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Air Force officials were the transactions involving the acquisition of 12 fighter jets from South Korea, valued at P18.9 billion, and of eight Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters, valued at P4.8 billion.

    The Manila Times early this year came out with a series detailing the alleged anomalies in the P1.2-billion helicopter deal based on documents provided by and interviews with whistleblower Rhodora Alvare, whose identity was initially masked with the codename Joey.

    The jet fighter deal involves the acquisition of FA-50 fighter/trainer jets from Korean Aerospace Inc. The deal was done through government-to-government negotiation with the contract signed during President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s visit to Seoul in March 2013.

    The revelation of the COA “grounding” notice came a few days after the DND announced the successful maiden test flight of the jets in South Korea last week. The Korean contractor committed to deliver two of the 12 fighter jets by the last quarter of the year or early next year.

    The test flight of the newly manufactured FA-50 jet was conducted on June 19. A team of PAF pilots and ground crew are also in training in South Korea on how to handle the jet fighter, which is patterned after the US-made F-16 Fighting Falcon.

    Two of the eight brand-new Bell 412EP helicopters have reportedly arrived early this month and are assembled and tested in a secured air force facility. A total of six helicopters from Bell Helicopter Canada are expected to be delivered until August this year.

    Like the jet fighter contract, the Bell 412EP acquisition involved a government-to-government transaction with Canada through the Canadian Commercial Corporation. The contract was signed in March 2014.

    A media report quoting Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said three of the eight helicopters will be configured as VIP helicopters for use during the coming Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit in September. The VIP-configured helicopters would be assigned to the PAF Presidential Airlift Wing.

    Alvarez said the alleged anomalies that were flagged by COA auditors validate her claim that there was a pattern of irregularity in the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    “This is the pattern of irregularity that I was talking about. The P1.2-billion deal with Rice Aircraft Services Inc. is just a tip of the iceberg, a speck of dust in a multitude of wrongdoings in the [Defense] department. This has to stop for the sake of our lowly soldiers who sacrifice limbs and lives for the country,” Alvarez said in an interview.

    “I thank the COA for its diligence and sense of justice. I know this is not the end of the road because the Notice of Suspension and the issuance of an AOM (Audit Observation Memorandum) is just the beginning of a lengthy process. But I’m glad it has begun,” she noted.

    A DND insider said the notice issued by the COA tells the PAF technical working group that a meeting has been called by the DND to deal with the COA suspension.

    The notice, which was reportedly green-lighted by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, tasked DND Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez to preside over the meeting.

    The notice indicated that the sole agenda for the conference was “Compliance to the AOM/ Notice of suspension issued by COA on the above-mentioned AFP Modernization program Projects.”

    The conference is scheduled for Thursday (June 25) in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

    Velez as well as Undersecretary Manalo, a former Air Force general, were among the DND officials whom whistleblower Alvarez had accused of “tailor-fitting” the UH-1D project specifications for Rice Aircraft Services Inc.

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    33 Comments

    1. unchained melody on

      USEC Fernando Manalo is already retired why still in service to continue enriching his pocket and power why not give to other who still active in service. Is he the bagman of Pinoy and Gazmin? He is under investigation but still continue to protect the interest in the anomaly deal of helicopter and even the gun deals. Dont you know that Manalo is a stupid and has no brain retired general. Philippine now is full.of graft and corruption worst than the previous admin So in this coming election HUWAG NA TAYONG MAGPAKATANGA AT IBOTO PA ANG MGA CRONIES NI PINOY. GANYAN ANG UGALI NG PINOY ADMIN NA SISIRAIN ANG MGA KALABAN LIKE BINAY TO PROTECT ANG MGA KATIWALIAN NILA PARA CONTROLLADO NILANG LAHAT.GO TO HELL USEC MANALO.

    2. O. sa mga bobong bayaran ng DND at kakutsaba sa korapsiyon. Umamin na ang DND out of 35,000 procurement noong 2013, 650 lang ang approved through bidding. Noong 2014, mahitgit 32,000 contracts pero 450 lang ang dumaan sa bidding. Si Guingona na nagbulgar niyan gamit ang DND submitted data. Eat that, paidhacks!!

    3. Another sensational article from Manila Times, Basta lang may maipost na article without verification of facts. The above mentioned projects were NOT postponed but only the auditing process were. This has been rebuked by the COA itself. You should post an immediate ERRATUM on your report.

    4. hay naku…pwede bang isipin nyo muna magkano ba ang budget ng AFP Modernization eh 1% lang ng ating GDP… sa palagay nyo sapat ba ang budget na yan
      para makabili ng sophisticated na weapon system…? eh pang second hand lang ang budget natin.. tapos hahanap kayo ng state of the art na weapon system…. puro kasi mga experto sa defense system ang mga nagplano sa defense budget natin…kaya puro putang inang gamit ang nabibilli natin… kung gusto nyo mabago ang pamamalakad sa ating gobyerno, alam nyo na ang sagot ngayon election.

      • Then increase the budget! simply do that and you can get the state of the art weaponry that we’ve been waiting for a decade. On the issue that Manila Times stating, all aircraft are brand new except for the 21 refurbished Huey choppers since you cant get newly produced Huey nowadays.

    5. And why are we crying about all these graft and corruption , we all elected those damn
      people. And there’s no end in sight people.

    6. malayang pamamahayag at malayang pagblackmail sa politico ” TO MUCH KNOWLEDGE OF JOURNALISM AT THE END CORRUPTION OR PANGIGIPIT

    7. Payag na sambayanang pinoy sa mga defective na Aircrafts for as long as pres pinoy and his cabinet men and tongresmen and senatongs will be the passengers

      • The 12 Light combat fighter jets aren’t defective as what you’ve said. Those are brand new from Sokor. The Bell choppers are also brand new purchased from Canada.

    8. From the start. I have doubted the P18.9 Bilion acquisition of the 12 South Korea SA-50 fighter jets valued at P1.5 Billion each. First of all, why buy from South Korea? why not from the U.S. , the U.K or France for the fighter jets. Just like wit cars, European, Japanese and most American cars are better than the Korean cars.

      Second, why 12 fighter jets from South Korea valued at P1.5 Billion. Why not just 10 or eight fighter jets. First of all, the Philippines need at least two of the Hercules C-130 planes used for cargo and transport of troops as well as civilians as shown in the aftermath of the super-typhoon Yolanda that the PH in November 2013.

      Third, our government should be spending P10.0 Billion for both the boast and/ships for the Coast Guard and Phiippine Navy. Itis simply pathetic to see our Coast Guard using bancas to run after foreign vessels engaged in illegal activities here in our country. I saw the video of Coast Guard personnel riding in bancas and what a shame.

      • Kung sagad sa budget bakit nga ba hindi na sa US kumuha? isip din KAPOS sa budget tol.

        saka kaya s korea kumuha muna para matatuto muna mga piloto natin. pang bridge ng gap ang FA-50. hindi naman agad agad F16, F18, F22 agad bilbilhin natin eh ang kumplikado nyan at bilyong piso ang pagmaintain nyan. bakit dose? malang gusto ng airforce isang squadron.2005 pa ng iretire ang jet fighter.kung di bibili ngayon kailan pa? sa 2019 target bumili ng MRF ng Airforce, Gripen from Sweden ang napupusuan nila (FYI)

        Galit galit na tayo pagnandidito sa atin ang US TROOPS para tumulong tapos pagbibili ng sariling gamit kontra ng kontra. Pano tayo magsasarili? ang GULO!

        at sa coast guard naman on going ang pagbili ng mga gamit nila. may nadagdag na rin na cargo planes. basa basa ka rin ng mga military articles ha. tinagalog ko na para maintindihan puro ka english wala namang laman pinagsususulat mo.

        basa basa ka ng modernization plan ng AFP.

    9. Rosauro Feliciano on

      Grafts and Corruptions in our country is endemic throughout; in other words, it is prevalent or widespread throughout the country among our people holding sensitive positions in the government because of the culture of wanting to become wealthy without exerting honest efforts. Even those who migrated to the USA brought along with them this culture of corruption. The best way to solve this problem is to first find the root cause of this culture of corruption. We inherited that kind of comfort feeling when our “friend came over and had shown us the comfort of staying in a concrete house and when that friend left us alone, we could not improve our house that is of nipa hut”. Our people have that mentality of Western Culture but could not cope up to reach that aim and maintain because common sense tells us that we must first of all improve our standard of living, which is a government responsibility and not an individual responsibility. And so many (not all of course) when opportunity comes their way, they want to be wealthy overnight and worse they want to migrate to other country in order to live comfortably instead of repairing their living condition back home. This kind of mentality became a habit, which as published some few months ago that some of us Filipinos are more Americans than the Americans. Hindi ba nakakahiya yan? While Spain taught us to be nationalistic as proven by the countless revolutions against the Spanish authority, America taught us the opposite and yet we opted to be independent believing that we could manage our own affair.

    10. its just a glitched on being alerts anyway it will be done already..no such corruption on GOV to GOV negotiation.. as long as it was transparent and by the BOOK..

    11. What anomalies? This could mean anything, even documentary requirements. So far no specifics, just a lot of hearsay and general allegations. Where is the proof of kickbacks, e.g., funds transfers, bank accounts, etc.? And how in the heck does a G2G deal become compromised unless those governments (US, S Korea, Canada) are themselves corrupt, which is outlandish? I could see a G2G deal with a country like China being compromised due to endemic corruption pervasive in that country. Now the AFP’s modernization program is held hostage by unsubstantiated allegations which will end up with nothing in the end.

    12. Stop Corruption! Make the military equipped with modern armaments. We are under threat by Chinese.

    13. Richard Pagarigan on

      Might as well surrender the entire Philippines to China… Go ahead. Help China more in invading our territory.

    14. Rhodora Alvarez is NO patriot. She is an enemy of the state. When the dust settles and they find nothing to charge anybody with, she and her backers should be investigated for treason.

    15. We should be asking ourselves why in the heck Rhodora Alvarez, a BIR agent, is injecting herself in the negotiations and contract for the UH-1H order? Sounds like a shakedown that went south for her and now she’s sourgraping. I believe in my heart she is the crook in all this. If Rice did anything wrong, they will ALSO be subject to US law.

    16. So far I’ve seen nothing but hearsay. Where is the proof? Where is the alleged ill-gotten wealth? All this talk of tailoring the UH-1H requirements to favor Rice Aircraft is BS, since they were the sole bidders in the final two bid rounds before the G2G deal. This sounds more like the work of PRC agents.

    17. ok then charge them and jail them other than puro investigation wala naman prosecution eh di inutil. what kind pussy justice system is this. puro salita at investigation with no end in sight or no happy ending.

      • laguatanlawzen.com on

        I absolutely agree with your opinion. Puro dakdak lang nobody was sent to jail for wrong-doing. There is a lot of investigation going on in this country. After the investigation – what next? This is a lot of bullshit. The degree of corruption under Abnoy’s administration is even worst than the combined past administrations.

    18. I smell espionage in the making.. derailing the AFP Modernization.. Good job Manila Times..

    19. Mar Padilla, Jr. on

      The Commission on Audit has nothing to do with purchase of Military Equipments, including Aircraft, Battleships, Submarine, Helicopter Guns and Amo, Cannons, Tanks etc. They are not Army Technician, Expert or Army Strategist. All what they are going to check is whether Brand New or Second Hand or Used. If is brand new the government should pay a brand new price, if is a second hand, then it should pay a second hand price or used one. This is no UNDER THE TABLE DEAL. (WALANG LAGAY) No short cut system, or graft and corruption in government purchases. Anybody who makes a kickback will go to jail right away.

    20. It seems like the COA should have its own newspaper column to report its findings. They are doing a good job and then problems they are rporting should be acted upon. I think a column will cause that to happen in the next administration. This administration does not follow the rules or the law.

    21. I would say to change our Philippine Constitution first!! this is the real reason why until now we are the weakest in SEA. There are problems in Our Constitution which is preventing us to move forward from economy to military to social services… of course the change need to be force by the People and not Our Congress because the Constitution is supposed to be for the People and by the People, we cannot wait for congress or the administration to do this for us due to will issues that involves money.. Look at the FOI bill has it been approved?? i guess not, the people will see all the corruption in Our Congress to Senate to administration. Unfortunately our current Constitution is plagued with corruption and we the People need to do something.

      • Manuel C. Diaz on

        Do we have a people’s initiative in the Philippines? If Congress will not pass the FOI law, if we have a people’s initiative we can include the FOI in the coming election to be voted by the people.

    22. no wonder the philippine air force is all air and no force. thanks to the appontees of pnoy who must take care of themselves first before anything else.

    23. The number one priority of any nation state is the security of its sovereignty. Failure to do so will result in the dissolution of the state and seizure by foreign powers.

      • This… We are running out of time.. support the modernization else face total destruction and humilation

    24. We cannot even create a military when our lands are being stolen from us because of institutionalized corruption. This has caused bureaucratic paralysis which is preventing the Philippines from defending itself against usurpers. This nation is lost.

      This nation’s leaders need to be reminded of a historical fact: it is your land only as long as you can defend it. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that the day will come (again) when the entire archipelago will be administered by foreign powers.