Senate minority seeks probe into P15.7-B Navy frigate row


THE Senate minority bloc is seeking an investigation on the alleged questionable purchase of two Navy frigates worth P15.7 billion from a South Korean firm under the Armed Forces’ modernization program.

The six-member opposition group filed Resolution 584 on January 16 directing the Committee on National Defense and Security and the Congressional Oversight Committee on the AFP Modernization Act to investigate the scandal.

Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes 4th, Risa Hontiveros, Paolo Benigno Aquino 3rd, and detained Leila de Lima want an inquiry on the acquisition of two Philippine Navy frigates “to determine whether or not such acquisition promotes the goals of the modernization program and complies with pertinent laws.”

“I fully support the modernization of our Armed Forces which should be done in accordance with the constitutional principles of transparency and accountability,” de Lima wrote from her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

The first military contract signed under the Duterte administration, and among the biggest items in the AFP modernization program, is the acquisition of two missile-capable frigates for the Navy.

It was initiated by the Aquino administration on October 2015 to beef up the country’s territorial defense and disaster response capabilities.

Currently, Navy’s “most capable” warships are two former United States Coast Guard ships, the opposition senators said. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO



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