The Noynoy administration had blasted its predecessor for tolerating and coddling corrupt defense and military officials, keeping them happy and content.
Well, it looks like Noynoy is making sure some bigshots at the Department of Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) happy and content, particularly with the juicy fruits of the military’s procurement contracts.
One such deal was uncovered recently, the anomalous P1.2 billion project awarded to a foreign contractor to supply the AFP with 21 UH-1H Huey helicopters as part of the military’s modernization program.
It turned out that the helicopters actually purchased for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) were the obsolete UH-1D type, and only nine of the agreed 21 units were delivered so far.
Those in the know will agree with me that maintaining the German-made UH-1D will eventually become problematic because the spare parts for this type of choppers are outdated.
\ In turn, I agree with Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito that a Senate probe on this anomalous transaction is in order.
Ejercito on Monday filed a Senate resolution seeking an inquiry into the DND contract that may have been “tailor-fitted for a favored bidder.”
The DND awarded P1.2 billion contract to the US-based Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Eagle Copters Ltd of Canada in December 2013 after three “failed biddings.”
We are, of course, familiar with “collusion” or rigged biddings.
Perhaps, we can call them “moro-moro” biddings at Camp Aquinaldo.
In this one Fernando Manalo, DND undersecretary for finance, munitions, installation and materiel, headed the negotiation with the contractor Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and its Canadian partner, Eagle Copters Ltd.
The contract was approved by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in 2013.
This anomalous deal should have been terminated.
Needless to say, Manalo and his boss have a lot of explaining to do as to why they did not make sure the terms of the agreement were followed.
Manalo must explain why the old and refurbished units delivered are not equipped with protective parts such as intake screen and other features suited to Philippine conditions.
When four of the choppers were presented during the PAF anniversary last year, the aircraft would not even start, revealing engine problems.
The choppers delivered were incompatible with night vision goggles and lacked crash-worthy and self-sealing fuel cells.
They also showed discrepancies immediately after a few hours of flying time.
A Manila Times source said, “If DND awarded the contract to a qualified supplier, the helicopters should have been fully operational by 2014 and those helicopters should have been used during the Mamasapano incident.”
It will be recalled that Noynoy boasted during his July 2012 State of the Nation Address (SONA), that 21 US-made UH 1H choppers were being purchased to boost the capability of the country’s Air Force.
It’s obvious now that Aquino lied.
German-made scraps were dumped on our country’s Air Force.
My sources told me that high-ranking DND officials had reportedly “compelled PAF officials to accept the defective” choppers.
What was supposedly a part of the AFP modernization program turned out to be a personal-enrichment program for some DND and AFP bigshots.
And, Malacañang is again trying to cover up this newly exposed anomaly.
For Monday, we are looking into the allegedly anomalous contract brokered by a relative of a top DND official.
This involves the P882-million contract for the procurement of the APCs or M113s despite an earlier donation by the US government of 100 units of M113s to the AFP.
One wonders why they are still purchasing when there are already 100 donated units?
The answer is simple…someone ones to make “tongpats”.