Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito has asked the Senate blue ribbon committee to create an ad hoc committee that would focus on determining if there was an anomaly behind the Defense department’s acquisition of 21 refurbished combat utility helicopters.
The senator, who authored Resolution 1238 that sought a Senate inquiry into the suspected anomalous deal, which was initially exposed by The Manila Times, also volunteered to head the special committee.
“I fully understand that there are matters of equal importance that the committee is handling. However, due to the nature of the allegations and the involvement of public funds, it is in this regard that I am requesting from the good chairperson the delegation of the matters to a sub-committee, which I can chair,” Ejercito stated in his letter to blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd.
Ejercito filed the proposed resolution mid-March after personally meeting “Joey”– the whistleblower and The Manila Times source who claims he was privy to the transaction between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the alleged “favored” bidder, Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Eagle Copters Ltd.
According to “Joey,” technical specifications of the UH-1 helicopter deal were tweaked to “tailor-fit” what the suppliers could deliver. Eight of the 21 helicopters that were delivered were reportedly accepted despite failing technical inspection. Ranking Defense and military officials were also named as among those behind the anomalous deal.
“We will zero in on the procurement process, and find out if indeed officials are liable [for]accepting these choppers, which from the start have allegedly failed to meet the technical specifications based on the Terms of Reference,” Ejercito said in an earlier interview.
Aside from him, Senators Francis Escudero and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also filed their respective resolutions calling too for a Senate probe of procurements made by the DND.