From InterAksyon (Mar 27): EXCLUSIVE | DND used P800-M US fund for tanks to buy cheaper APCs - JV, Chiz
News5 screenshot of US tanks.
Two senators want the Department of National Defense to explain why it used P800 million given by the United States to transport 100 units of donated tanks to buy instead cheaper armored personnel carriers from Belgium.
Senators JV Ejercito and Chiz Escudero said they learned the DND chose to defer receipt of the tanks donated in 2013; and then turned around and used P800 million provided by the US for the tanks' transport, to buy the "old-model" APCs at P30 million each.
The DND supposedly also booked from an Israeli supplier the arms and other key features that are supposed to be installed on the Belgian tanks.
Earlier, the defense establishment drew flak over the P1.2 billion purchase of 20 units of Huey helicopters. of which only nine have been delivered.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told News5 the DND had in fact already issued a notice of partial termination to the supplier for non-compliance with the terms of the contract.
However, Gazmin opted not to comment on the US tanks issue, saying they would rather respond to that before the Senate.
The controversy prompted Ejercito to wonder aloud how the vaunted, P75-billion, five-year AFP modernization could proceed as planned given controversies such as these. "What kind of modernization are we going to have, modernization in retreat?" asked Ejercito, in apparent reference to the decision to buy old-model APCs.