THE Department of National Defense (DND) has reportedly proceeded with the inspection of at least five UH-1D choppers, in preparation for the acceptance of the refurbished helicopters from the United States-based Rice Aircraft Services, Inc., (RASI) despite the agency’s earlier decision to partially terminate the “anomalous” P1.2-billion chopper procurement contract.
Based on the disclosed information, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) wrote a letter to Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the Senate committee on accountability of public officers and investigations (Blue Ribbon) and Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, informing the committee about the DND’s move to inspect five of the 13 UH-1D helicopters covered in the notice of termination the agency issued earlier this year.
In a missive dated September 8, 2015, which was received by the office of Ejercito on September 9, Martin Dino, chairman of the VACC, informed the committee about the inspection of the helicopters scheduled on Thursday in Clark Field, Angeles, Pampanga.
“The Department of National Defense (DND) has initiated a clandestine and surreptitious move to inspect and thereafter accept five UH-1D helicopters,” Dino said in the letter.
The VACC official noted that the DND initiated the move despite the ongoing investigation, in aid of legislation, by the Senate blue ribbon committee on the anomalous deal involving the purchase of 21 UH-1D helicopters from a “favored” supplier joint venture of RASI and Eagle Copters Inc., represented by Robert Rice and the decision of the Defense department to partially terminate the deal.
It was Ejercito who filed Senate Resolution 1238, asking Guingona’s committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the controversial helicopter procurement contract based on the series of articles published by The Manila Times.
Rhodora Alvarez, The Manila Times source, initially identified as “Joey”, disclosed the alleged irregularities in the deal. Alvarez is now under the witness protection program of the government.