Ombudsman urged to probe Aquino admin’s procurement of overpriced fighter trainer jets
by UNTV News | Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — The anti-corruption group Anti Trapo Movement (ATM) sent a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman, asking for the investigation of alleged anomalous purchase of expensive FA-50 or trainer jets by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Department of National Defense (DND) during the term of the Aquino administration.
The group claims the procured aircraft were overpriced.
ATM chairman, Leon Peralta said, “Alam namin na ito ay allegedly overpriced kasi merong nag o-offer ng 20 million dollars lang na mas sophisticated dito sa FA-50 na mahal mahal ng presyo pero ang capacity nya ay hindi katumbas ng presyo ng pagkakabili.”
(We know that these are allegedly overpriced because someone is offering for only 20 million dollars and is more sophisticated than this FA-50 which is very expensive but its capacity is not commensurate to its price.)
ATM said the price of one FA-50 already amounts to the combined price of three trainer jets.
One unit of FA-50 is USD 35-million.
The group claims the 12 trainer jets bought by the DND and AFP amounts to a total of P18.9 billion.
The government purchased the units from Korea Aerospace Industries in South Korea.
The group noted that a huge amount of money was wasted as the said FA-50s are only used for ceremonies and not for battle.
ATM also alleged that the individuals who negotiated for the trainer jets have links to the Israel Aerospace Industries that is purportedly facing corruption scandal in Israel.
“Yung nag re-representa sa kanila dito ngayon are allegedly well placed, well connected at maraming tao sa AFP at DND. Eh naibenta nga nila yung napakamahal na FA-50,” Peralta said.
(Those that represent them now are allegedly well placed, well connected with many people in the AFP and DND. Well, they were able to sell the expensive FA-50.)
In the coming days, the group will formally file a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against individuals, they say, are involved in the allegedly anomalous transaction.
On the other hand, the DND and AFP, said they are not against the filing of complaint.
If an investigation pushes through, the two defense establishments vow to cooperate so the truth will come out. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) chief Col. Edgard Arevalo is confident that the hostilities in Marawi City have ended, now that all the leaders of the Maute terror group have already died and they no longer have an organizational structure, war can be considered over.
“Yes, we can say that the crisis in Marawi is over,” said Col. Arevalo.
He added that the remaining Maute fighters holed up in the city are now in hiding, while the others have mixed in with the rescued hostages.
“That’s what we are doing. We are physically going after them, and to rescue the remaining hostages,” said the official.
Meanwhile, the military has yet to find the area where the remains of Malaysian terrorist Dr. Mahmud Ahmad is buried. The former university lecturer was the alleged financier of the Maute terror group.
According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, the military can find the remains of Ahmad once they locate the person who buried him.
“We have to find the right people that buried him. There’s an ongoing assault now, later on, we are able to capture some Maute fighters. He can be the one who can reveal where Dr. Mahmud was buried,” said Gen. Año.
Año also noted that they are now conducting an assessment of the rescued hostages as many Maute fighters have mixed in with them to avoid being captured by the military. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said she is not against the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, especially since it was the Supreme Court itself that declared it constitutional.
However, the Vice President believes the administration should lift the declaration of military rule in Mindanao, and immediately begin the rehabilitation of strife-torn Marawi City.
“Nung sinusulong ito ang sabi niya necessary lang. Sana sa lalong madaling panahon ma-lift na ito kasi marami din yung nagrereklamo na naaapektuhan ang turismo, hanap buhay at maraming umaasa ditong hanap buhay, (When he [Duterte] was pushing for this, he said it was necessary. I hope that he could lift it at the soonest possible time because many are complaining that their tourism, their livelihood are affected. Many livelihoods are depending it)” said the vice president.
According to Robredo, the Office of the Vice President will help in the conduct of rehabilitation in the heavily damaged area.
She noted many of their Angat Buhay partners have already expressed readiness to build infrastructures for the affected residents.
“Marami na kaming kausap na partners na willing to help magbigay ng ng school buildings gamit sa paaralan yung shelter kits para sa mga nawalan ng bahay. Marami na nag-pledge. Lahat lang naghihintay para magkaron na ng clearance (We are in talks with many partners who are willing to help build school buildings, provide school supplies, shelter kits for those who were displaced. Many have pledged. They are waiting for clearance)”, said Robredo.
However, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla believes a consultation will take place first before the government releases a decision on the lifting of martial law in the entire Mindanao.
Although the matter is a political concern, Padilla said the AFP will create recommendations regarding the lifting of the military rule in the region.
Padilla also assured the public that the situation in every part of Mindanao will soon return to normal.
“But there is a greater threat here that needs to be addressed and the need for the maintenance of martial law in some parts is really important because of the network, the existence of the network of all these terrorist groups,” said Padilla. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities believe the responsibility of ensuring the security of each community in the country not only rests on the government as the threat of terrorism remains.
This has been the statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson MGen. Restituto Padilla following the end of the clashes in Marawi City.
Padilla said the government and the public should continue to cooperate with each other.
“We need the public as well. It’s not just the cops or soldiers or anyone in uniform who should monitor the surroundings,” said the AFP spokesperson.
Padilla added that with the public’s cooperation, the government can stop or prevent any attempts by terrorists or rebels to invade in any part of the country.
“When you see someone new who is acting suspiciously, or individuals who left things in a particular place, who seems to cause violence we can prevent them and prevent a massive chaos from happening,” said Padilla.
The military official also explains attempts to sow violence would never happen if the public can report to authorities everyone they see acting suspiciously.
“Cutting and pre-empting an attempted disturbance in any area is a joint responsibility of every citizen in our country,” said the official.
It can be recalled President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed dismay over some Maranaos for not immediately informing the military about the armed men who entered Marawi City.
The president also warned of holding liable officials of the local government unit who would be proven to be involved in the Marawi siege and neglected their duties in protecting the city against terrorism. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
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