Opposition senators seek probe on PH Navy’s P15.7B frigate project
Senators from the minority bloc have moved to investigate the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, specifically the P15.7-billion frigate acquisition project, where Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go was alleged to have interfered.
Minority leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila De Lima filed on Tuesday Resolution No. 584, directing the Senate committee on national defense and security and Congressional oversight committee on the AFP Modernization Act to examine the status of the AFP modernization program.
An earlier report by the Inquirer bared that as early as January 2017, Malacañang “took special interest” in the Philippine Navy’s controversial selection of the weapons system supplier for the P15.7-billion frigate project.
The Inquirer learned that Go “sent an unsigned two-page letter to Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana where he assailed the Navy’s preference for Tacticos CMS and highlighted the advantages of choosing the Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) of HTC of South Korea for the frigates.”
Go is President Rodrigo Duterte’s right hand man, and also heads the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).
The Inquirer noted that in a span of two weeks this January, Malacañang, the Department of National Defense (DND), and Philippine Navy have discussed the combat management systems (CMS) of the frigate program.
In a letter to Mr. Duterte, the Navy explained why it preferred Tacticos CMS of Thales Nederland, Inc. over Hanwha Thales (HTC) for the CMS of the warships.
Last Tuesday, however, Go denied having intervened in the procurement process for the project. “I have not intervened in the procurement of DND of its computer system for its ships. I have not participated nor intervened, directly or indirectly, in the transactions of DND. Further, I even have no information nor knowledge of the said transaction,” Go said in an earlier statement.
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