Whatever happened to the Senate inquiry into the anomalous P1.2-billion contract entered into by the Department of Defense (DND) in the purchase of defective helicopters from a dubious US-based company?
Another UH-1D helicopter, among the overpriced helicopters maintained by the office of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, crashed in Sarangani last Saturday.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said an “investigation” of the accident is underway, as if we can expect anything other than a whitewash.
Immediately before the so-called probe began, PAF officials had blamed possible human and environmental causes.
They already ruled out the unreliability of the German-made UH-1D helicopter, which is not the type the PAF originally intended to acquire, the US-made UH-1H, popularly known as the Huey.
Apparently, the switch to the refurbished 1968 model UH-1D was made to allow for “kickbacks” of DND and bigger profits for the US-based Rice Aircraft Services Incorporated (RASI) and Canada-based Eagle Copters Ltd.
Corruption DND goes all the way to the top, according to a former agent of a United States-Canadian joint venture that won the anomalous P1.2- billion deal.
Gazmin was allegedly promised at least seven percent kickback of roughly P84 million while Defense Undersecretary for Finance Fernando Manalo will get another five percent of the total project cost to cover his and DND staff’s commissions.
This was revealed by agent-turned-whistleblower Rhodora Alvarez in an affidavit submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Both Gazmin and Manalo have denied the allegations.
A total of P180 million or 15 percent of the total project cost was meant to pay the “grease money” to ensure that the joint venture of Rice and Eagle Copters Ltd won the contract.
Senators raised red flags on the chopper deal, including Sen. Chiz Escudero who questioned why RASI still won the contract during a negotiated bid (three public biddings for the project were a failure).
Alvarez said RASI’s choppers were only good as search and rescue choppers, not for combat mission, which is why the choppers have not been used in Mindanao.
Sen. JV Ejercito said PAF pilots he talked to admitted that they are afraid to fly those choppers.
Last week’s chopper crash gives credence to the unreliability of the UH-1D helicopter, resulting in injuries of all nine personnel aboard.
Amid public outrage, the DND had “partially terminated” the deal for failure to deliver the units on time.
But before President Aquino left for the climate change summit in Paris, the ngoyngoy reportedly gave Gazmin the authority to enter into a “multi-year contract” (MYC) for the acquisition of more warships and planes worth approximately P44 billion.
Wow!!! If this is not “garapal,” I don’t know what is!
This was disclosed by Manalo during the welcoming ceremony for the two South Korean-made FA-50PHs at Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
Gazmin’s sidekick said “payment will be from 2015 to 2017 or 2018.”
This issue on the Philippines maritime conflict with China, which this inutile administration also failed to deal with early on, is now apparently being exploited by these ngoyngoys at Malacañang and Camp Aguinaldo to fleece our bloated national budget and foreign debt.
Habang nagsasakripisyo ang mga sundalo, tuloy ang ligaya ng mga kawatan sa Kampo Aquinaldo!
The a**holes in DND should be charged with graft and corruption because of this deal. If Gazmin’s head should roll, so be it. After all, he should have been retired from government service and cared for at the home for the aged.
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