Amid allegations that the government has purchased spy gadgets to pry on opponents of the Aquino administration, Malacanang said on Thursday that such equipment would be used for a different purpose.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a Palace media briefing, said the acquisition of the equipment is actually part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.
“…The purchase of the equipment is part of the AFP modernization program, and will be used primarily in the campaign against terrorism,” he said.
Coloma explained that from the time that the Aquino administration took office in 2010, the Department of National Defense (DND) has made it a priority to ensure professionalization on the AFP.
He stressed that “the references to past misdeeds, such as the ‘Hello Garci’ incident, are things of the past.”
The issue was raised following Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco’s statement that he also received “credible information” on the purpose of acquiring the spy gadgets.
Tiangco issued the statement after a daily newspaper reported that P135 million worth of surveillance equipment were acquired to spy on critics of the President.
Coloma challenged Tiangco to present concrete data and proof to back up his claim, if there is any truth to it.
“Dapat naman sa lahat ng pahayag ang batayan ay kongkretong datos at kongkretong katibayan at hindi tayo gagawa ng mga pahayag na wala namang matibay na batayan,” the PCOO chief said. PNA