No legal grounds to scrap warships deal— DND
There are no legal grounds to terminate the P15.7-billion frigate acquisition project, the Department of National Defense said amid calls from Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano to cancel the purchase.
“There is a proper process prescribed in Republic Act No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) concerning the termination of a procurement project and there are specific conditions that must be present in order to invoke it, none of which are existing at the moment in this project,” DND spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
Alejano said early this week that the Philippine Navy has been “baited” by the contractor into settling for the selection of the combat management systems rather than choosing its own preference. He also questioned the alleged intervention of Malacañang into the project.
He then suggested scrapping the projects signed with Hyundai Heavy Industries.
“We must point out that the anomalies being cited by [Magdalo] Representative Gary Alejano are mere allegations and innuendos which are not legal grounds for termination of the project,” Andolong said.
The opposition lawmaker also called for an investigation into the controversial project.
The government signed a deal with Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea in 2016 to build two frigates for the Philippine Navy.
But former Navy chief Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado was suddenly relieved from his post last month due to “insubordination” for standing by his preference of CMS for the frigates.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier alleged that Mercado threatened to scrap the weapons contract if his preference would not be followed.
Because of Mercado’s supposed insistence on his favored combat management systems, it had led to the delay of the project for a few months, the defense chief said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.