“I fear for my life but they can’t stop me from exposing them.”
“Joey”The Manila Times source who uncovered the Defense department’s allegedly anomalous acquisition of 21 helicopter gunships, made the statement after unidentified men visited his home province early this week and allegedly asked for his whereabouts.
“There were men who went to our house in the province last Tuesday, They spoke to my mother and my siblings, as well as my other relatives and they wanted to know my location,” he told The Times on Thursday, the day the nation marked the valor and heroism of Filipino soldiers during the Second World War.
“If they are harassing me, then I’ll fight back harder this time because I’m on the side of the truth. I am doing this for the country,” Joey said.
Joey is the pseudonym of The Manila Times informant who claimed he has personal knowledge of backroom transactions between defense and military officials and representatives of Rice Aircraft Services Inc. (RASI) and its partner, Eagle Copters Ltd., which bagged the contract to supply 21 refurbished UH-1 combat utility helicopters to the Philippine military.
The contract was canceled by the Department of National Defense (DND) after The Times exposed the allegedly anomalous transaction. Joey backed with documents his narration on how the deal was cut.
“That means the officials of the [DND] who were affected by my expose already know my real identity,” he said.
Lawmakers have filed resolutions asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to look into the alleged anomaly.
Joey, who was personally interviewed by Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito before he filed his own resolution, had repeatedly indicated his willingness to unmask himself and put his expose on record once the congressional inquiry rolls out.
Quoting his family and relatives, Joey said five men on board a black Toyota Corolla sedan (UKU 243) went to their home last Tuesday. The men allegedly told them that they were Joey’s colleagues at work.
The driver of the car, who like his companions had a soldier-like bearing, presented an identification card bearing the name of one Marco Banal Abanilla.
“According to my relatives, the driver is a soldier but they introduced themselves as my co-workers in the office. They pretended that they were looking for me because I was due for promotion.,” The Manila Times informant said.
“I’m saddened that while I’m fighting for my country, I’m being treated like an enemy of the state but the American who tried to pull a fast one in cahoots with his DND contacts moves around freely,” Joey added.
“I will expose all these and all of them.”
Meanwhile, Ejercitoalso on Thursday said his staff have been busy preparing for the expected opening of a Senate blue ribbon inquiry into the helicopter deal within this month.
The author of Resolution 1238, which calls on the blue ribbon panel to investigate the alleged scam, added that he wanted to look deeply into the procurement process and specifically find out why the delivery of the eight of 21 helicopters was accepted despite technical glitches found by Air Force inspectors.
“We will zero in on the procurement process, and find out if indeed officials are liable of accepting these choppers which from the start have allegedly failed to meet the technical specifications based on the Terms of Reference,” Ejercito told The Times.
But nearly a month after Ejercito filed the proposed resolution, the blue ribbon committee headed by Sen. Teofista Guingona 3rd is yet to calendar holding of the inquiry. He filed the measure on March 16 and it was referred to the blue ribbon committee on March 18.
As of Thursday, April 9, public hearings on the case had not been scheduled.
The Manila Times source suspects that Guingona, who is allied with the Aquino administration, is deliberately sitting on the case.
“We can’t help but compare it with the Binay case. Sen. [Antonio] Trillanes [4th] filed the Senate resolution calling for an investigation of the Makati City Hall parking building on August 12 and it was referred to the blue ribbon. Guingona immediately designated Sen. [Aquilino] Pimentel [3rd] and set the hearing on August 20,” the source said.
Binay is Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also being investigated by the Senate for alleged graft.
The Times tried calling Guingona and his aides on Thursday but they were not picking up calls.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA