• Don’t sweep the DND chopper scam under the rug

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    ON Wednesday, Rhodora Alvarez, a former official of the Department of National Defense who first became known to the Filipino public through a Manila Times exclusive report as the whistleblower “Joey,” filed graft charges at the Ombudsman against Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and 38 others over a P1.25-billion anomalous procurement deal for 21 utility helicopters.

    Early last year, Alvarez told The Manila Times that DND and Philippine Air Force (PAF) officials violated bid and procurement rules in late 2013 to award a P1.25-billion contract for the supply of 21 refurbished Bell UH-1H “Huey” helicopters to a joint venture of an American company, Rice Aircraft Services, and a Canadian firm, Eagle Copter Ltd.

    Alvarez claimed that Rice Aircraft, being primarily an aircraft broker, had no capacity to furnish the specified helicopters, which was confirmed later when several helicopters of the less-advanced UH-1D model were delivered and found to be riddled with flaws; one even crashed in Sarangani Province. Alvarez further claimed that Gazmin was to have received a 7 percent “commission” from the deal, with other officials in DND and PAF receiving smaller amounts.

    As a result of The Manila Times’ report, a Congressional inquiry was launched and Gazmin was compelled to cancel the contract and blacklist its erstwhile suppliers.

    We applaud Ms. Alvarez’ perseverance in elevating the case to the Ombudsman. Her doing so is the mark of a true public servant. A crime has been committed – by whom, exactly, and in what degree, will still have to be determined – which wasted public funds and, more critically, imposed an unacceptable and entirely unnecessary risk to our servicemen and -women. The issue cannot simply be forgotten with the cancellation of the fraudulent contract.

    Nor can it be brushed aside by the Ombudsman’s office, now that a formal complaint has been lodged. That is a grave concern that none of us should have, but unfortunately, the culture of cronyism and selective justice encouraged by President BS Aquino 3rd over the past six years has made it reasonable to fear that laws will not be enforced and justice will not be done when it involves certain personalities. This is not only a constant, but also a consistently justifiable, fear. As a matter of fact, we would be surprised, shocked even, if Aquino did not in some way try to intercede to prevent his Defense Secretary and other VIPs named in the case from being held accountable.

    Of course, his living up to our expectations is not something we will tolerate or allow to go unchallenged, and we urge the Filipino people not to do so, either. Playing with the lives of those who defend this nation in order to skim a contract for personal financial gain is corruption of the worst sort, a signal to foreign powers and others who may seek to harm the country that we are weak and careless in our own defense. That’s a message that we doubt even the flexible morals of BS Aquino could tolerate sending to the world.

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    9 Comments

    1. 3 times that company attempted ro win the contract but lost, somehow the re-bidding was being facilitated to accomodate this company…

      Then it all ended in a negotiated contract.
      thats typical of a lot of contracts under DAANG MATUWAD

    2. renato irlanda on

      kung ang boots, helmets, bullet proof vests, bala, posas, at iba pang gamit ng mga sundalo na napakamura compara sa helicopter ay pinagkakwartahan ng mga hari sa DND (bibili ng bulok na gamit pero presyo ng di bulok ang gagamitin pagbayad)
      ito pa kayang helicopter na bulok ay di nila kayang bayaran ng presyo ng di bulok

    3. Really makes one suspect more why the Ombudswoman has been so obsessed with the still unsubstantiated case involving alleged overpricing of a parking building in Makati City amounting to P2 billion amassed over a number of years when this single case involving more than a billion pesos for the acquisition of outdated, defective helicopters hardly gets her attention as it is more urgent as it questions the integrity of the Defense leadership in a matter that places the lives of our servicemen at risk.

      We are not even talking about how she has shunted aside the Napoles Scam case where many Malacanan allies are involved to train her guns at the Vice President as part of the determined, desperate grand demolition campaign to prevent his sitting in the Palace by June 2016.

      If you listen to the feisty Ombudswoman, it is as if Jojo Binay is the most corrupt politician in the country when we know very well that is farthest from the truth.

    4. Really makes one suspect more why the Ombudswoman has been so obsessed with the still unsubstantiated case involving alleged overpricing of a parking building in Makati City amounting to P2 billion amassed over a number of years when this single case involving more than a billion pesos for the acquisition of outdated, defective helicopters hardly gets her attention as it is more urgent as it questions the integrity of the Defense leadership in a matter that places the lives of our servicemen at risk.

      We are not even talking about how she has shunted aside the Napoles Scam case where many Malacanan allies are involved to train her guns at the Vice President as part of the determined, desperate grand demolition campaign to prevent his sitting in the Palace by June 2016.

      If you listen to the feisty Ombudswoman, it is as if Jojo Binay is the most corrupt politician in the country when we know very well that nothing is farthest from the truth.

      • De Lima and the Morales are just hired guns for Aquino.

        De Lima ignored the Liberal Party in the pork barrel scandal. Out of 20 senators who gave Napoles their pork only 3 opposition senators charged.

        Ombudsman Morales won’t even charge the heads of the agencies responsible the MRT scandal Roxas and Abaya

        “It was under Roxas’ term that the Sumitomo contract was not renewed.

        Roxas was the one who initially signed the billion peso MRT maintenance contract in favor of PH Trams (an undercapitalized and inexperienced firm).

        Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya signed the contract allegedly laid down by Roxas.

        “I am the only DOTC official charged by the Ombudsman despite the unmistakable knowledge, involvement, participation and instruction of my superiors in the DOTC headed by former Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, current DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Jose Perpetuo Lotilla and Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco,” Vitangcol said.

    5. He, Aquino, covered up, or caused to be covered up, an unending list of plunder, corruption, malversation and documented incompetence of his band of thieves, he being the band leader. So what will prohibit him from doing the same to this rat, Gazmin, and to the smaller rats?

      Let us just be patient in the meantime. In July, this year, prosecutorial and judicial actions will be expedited.

      Meantime, let them enjoy to high heavens their sleepless nights and worries.

      • Grace Poe if elected said she will appoint Aquino as her anti corruption adviser.

        We all know if Roxas or Poe are elected no Pnoy ally or anyone connected with the Liberal Party will be held accountable for anything.

    6. Aquino may be able to fool the people of the Philippines but the rest of the world knows what a incompetent, lying excuse for a president he is. Add in the corrupt congress, corrupt law enforcement agencies and the subservient courts and the Philippines is widely regarded as a banana republic going nowhere.