• P1.2-B CHOPPER DEAL

    Plunder, graft raps filed vs Gazmin, 38 others

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    ‘JOEY’ COMES OUT Rhodora Alvarez files her plunder complaint against Defense officials on the chopper deal before Ombudsman Administering Officer Julio M. Ramo.  PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    ‘JOEY’ COMES OUT Rhodora Alvarez files her plunder complaint against Defense officials on the chopper deal before Ombudsman Administering Officer Julio M. Ramo. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    Rhodora Alvarez alias ‘Joey’, who blew the whistle on the questionable procurement of 21 refurbished UH-1 helicopters, filed plunder and graft charges against Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and several officials of the Department of National Defense (DND).

    Also charged at the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday were Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Fernando Manalo, Vice Chairman Patrick Velez and BAC members Nebuchadnezzar Alejandrino, Lt. Gen. Gregorio Macapagal, Col. Joselito Reyes and Angelito Castillo; Brig. Gen. Conrado Parra; Col. Moises Micor; Maj. Rene Rodolfo; Maj. Oliver Casuncad; Maj. Florante Baterina; Maj. Kathreen Guyanon; and Maj. Abraham Gemora.

    Also in the charge sheet were Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo; Assistant Secretaries Patrick Velez and Ernesto Boac; lawyer Cherie Belmonte-Lim; Maj. Gen. Raul Gabriel Dunatatac, Colonels Dino Diño, Francisco Carada, Rene Raoul Rommel and Richard Ramos; and Maj. Reyjie Oacantang.

    The head and members of the Inspection Team–Maj. Rene Rodolfo and Capt. Antonio Perez as well as those from the Defense Acquisition Office (DAO)–Edith Santos, Col. Richard Ramos and a Major de Guzman were also indicted.

    Robert Rice Jr., president of Rice Aircraft Services Inc. (RASI); Matthew Rice; Phil Kemp; and Michael O’Reilly, president of Eagle Copters Ltd., were also charged.

    Alvarez claimed that DND and Philippine Air Force (PAF) officials colluded in violating rules on procurement to benefit RASI, which bagged the negotiated contract worth P1.25 billion in December 2013 for the supply of the 21 refurbished combat Huey UH-1 helicopters on the condition that they will be delivered within 180 days.

    She questioned RASI’s capability to supply the aircraft, saying the company was merely a helicopter broker.

    The Manila Times broke the story early last year based on Alvarez’s disclosure that the negotiated contract was crafted to favor RASI, and that the helicopters it delivered did not meet specifications declared in the contract.

    As a result of this paper’s expose, Gazmin scrapped the helicopter deal and blacklisted the joint venture of RASI and Eagle Copter Ltd of Canada.

    In her complaint, Alvarez claimed that the deal was tainted with irregularities from the beginning.

    She accused Defense and military officials of committing gross dishonesty by rigging the procurement in favor of the joint venture of RASI and Eagle.

    “These dishonest acts exhibit moral depravity on the part of respondent public officials. Said dishonesty was committed several times and [on]various occasions in the different stages of the procurement proceedings,” Alvarez said.

    Gazmin, in conspiracy with all the respondents, according to her, “deliberately and unlawfully authorized the realignment of funds under his administration to be applied on other projects than those for which such funds [have]been appropriated.”

    “It has been my constant position that these UH-1D helicopters were defective as the same were not compliant with project’s specifications provided by the government to warrant [their]safety during combat operation. True enough, one of the helicopters delivered crashed on November 07, 2015. On said date, UH-1D helicopter with tail number 8502 crashed in Sitio Lamsalom, Barangay Upper Suyan in Malapatan, Sarangani province,” Alvarez said.

    When the Senate blue ribbon committee investigated the deal, she claimed, Gazmin was supposed to receive a seven-percent commission.

    Alvarez said the other officials involved were also supposed to receive a five-percent kickback.

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    7 Comments

    1. Gazmin was the head of the Presidential Security Group during Cory’s time. You can not expect Noynoying A(qui)nnoying to let the Ombudsman charge Gazmin during his term, much less he only got a few months left im Malacanang. That’s how corrupt this goverment is.

    2. Commission worth 700M. May toll gate pala ang daang matuwid kaya kakaunti lang ang nakakaraan dito. At bawal ding tumawid dito ang mahihirap na tumatanggap lamang ng Pangtawid Pamilya mula kay Balut-Penoy.

    3. Fred Pescador on

      Why is the commander-in-chief not included in this corruption complain…ah I got it…he was not informed about this procurement,right?

    4. What a SHAME for these supposedly “leading vanguards” vouchsafed with the defense of the country against any domestic and external national security threats to be suspected of such highly anomalous allegations. To those named military officers who passed the portals of that bastion of learning for military leadership at Fort del Pilar, what happened to the Honor Code!

      At this critical time that the Philippines is in the midst of confronting a clear and present intrusion to its national boundaries, these accusations if proven TRUE cannot be relegated into mere corruption charges but by and large, are “treasonous” acts.

    5. matino na pinoy on

      UH-1D Helicopters are very old and the U.S. Army have scrapped this model long time ago, like over 3 decades ago. This also means that the manufacturer of this chopper, no longer manufacture repair parts because it is not profitable, and once these equipment start breaking down, no replacement parts are available to replace these defective parts or components. It is very clear that these people involved on this scheme have done it intentionally and all of them should all pay the price and suffer the consequences. I wish the Ombudsman fine and forfeit all the pension or retirement pay of GAZMIN and make him spent some time behind bars.

    6. Gazmin is a Aquino appointee so he will not be tried and convicted no matter what he did.
      He will not even go to trial just like the Liberal Party pork barrel thieves.