National Defense to face Probe for buying Junked and Garbage worth ₱1.2-billion 21 UH-1 combat helicopters

JV Ejercito wants to probe purchase of ₱1.2-b choppers

SENATOR Joseph Victor Ejercito on Monday filed Senate Resolution No. 128 which seeks to investigate the alleged P1.2-billion chopper deal involving 21 UH-1 combat helicopters purchased by the Department of National Defense (DND).

Ejercito said he wants the Senate to dig deeper on news reports about the "tailor-fitted" procurement of 21 units of  the refurbished Huey helicopters by DND for a "favored bidder."

He added that the quality of the delivered and accepted parts of the purchased helicopters should also be investigated.

Ejercito said the Senate should ascertain if any violations were committed in the procurement law in the purchase of the 21 helicopters.

"We have to look into this deal because ₱1.2-billion worth of choppers that cannot be used and have obsolete parts are disadvantageous to the AFP Modernization Program," said Ejercito, a member of the Senate committee on national defense and security.

Reports had said that the contract was awarded to the Joint Venture of Rice Aircraft Services, Inc and Eagle Copters, Ltd. on December 28, 2013 for a bid price of ₱1.25 billion, which Ejercito said were "non-compliant" with the project contract's Terms of Reference (TOR).

He also noted that the helicopters have limited use due to some defects which he said defeats the purpose of its acquisition.

Aside from the prima facie wastage of taxpayers' money, Ejercito noted that with the alleged defects of the delivered helicopters,  the lives of the country's Air Force men and women, who are the end users, are put at risk.

Citing reports, the senator said only seven of the 21 UH-1D helicopters have been accepted, one is undergoing testing and acceptance, and thirteen are still in various stages of testing and assembly.

He likewise said that despite the delay in the completion of the turn-over of the helicopters and the various violations made by the supplier, which are clearly disparaging and prejudicial to the government, the DND did not terminate the contract.  Up to now, it still allows the supplier to deliver.         

Ejercito added that the government was denied the chance to negotiate the project to qualified suppliers who can deliver the best suited helicopters for the combat missions of the Philippine Air Force.

"The principles of transparency and accountability must always be ensured for what is at stake here is the taxpayers' money," he said. - Manila Standard Today

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