Three members of the House of Representatives, who were former police generals, sought an inquiry on Thursday on alleged anomalous acquisition by the Armed Forces of 21 helicopter gunships.
The legislators—Samuel Pagdilao of ACT-CIS party-list, Romeo Acop of Antipolo City and Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinan—asked the House committee on national defense to open an investigation into the P1.2 billion deal.
“The wretched state of helicopters delivered to the AFP by the Rice Aircraft Services Inc. should warrant the conduct of in-depth investigation, especially in light of some reports that the delivery of the helicopters were done in bad faith,” they said in a House Resolution 1995.
The suppliers were identified as joint venture of Rice Aircraft Service Inc. (RASI) and Eagle Copters, Ltd. They allegedly delivered refurbished helicopters based on tampered specifications.
Manila Times exposed the delivery based on a source, which was privy to the deal. Pagdilao, Bataoil and Acop are former police generals.
The three generals cited the lack of helicopters that led to the massacre of 44 members of the police Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.
“The failure of AFP military helicopters to respond to critical situations like the Mamasapano incident, could be traced to the failure of the [joint venture]to complete the delivery of the 21 UH-1 helicopters,” they said.
In the Senate, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito filed Resolution 1238 asking the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate the Times report that the helicopter contract was “tailor-fitted” for a “favored” bidder.
“The Senate should check if any violations were made on the procurement law in the purchase of these 21 helicopters. We have to look into this deal because P1.2 billion worth of choppers that cannot be used and have obsolete parts are disadvantageous to the AFP Modernization Program,” said Ejercito.