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
Alcala, et.al face graft raps for garlic cartel scam
Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala
MANILA, Philippines — Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, 20 garlic traders and other agriculture officials are facing graft charges over alleged garlic cartel scam.
Based on a statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued almost 9,000 import permits from 2010 to 2014, of which 5,000 were cornered by the Vendors Association of the Philippines, Inc. (VIEVA) chaired by Lilia Cruz.
In 2013, Alcala assigned Cruz as the chairperson of the National Garlic Action Team. The group was tasked to create policies in the production and supply of garlic.
Cruz also acted as the representative of the importers, facilitating the applications of garlic importation.
Investigators of the ombudsman have discovered that Alcala approved the release of importer permits amid suspension of the release order.
The resolution of the Ombudsman disclosed that VIEVA controlled the supply of garlic which resulted in price surges that ranged from P165-P170 per kilo in 2010-2013 to P260-400 per kilo in January to July 2014.
The Ombudsman also urged the dismissal of former Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Clarito Barron, division chiefs Merle Palacpac and Luben Marasigan over grave misconduct.
The officials will not be allowed to hold any government positions and will not receive any retirement benefits. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue
1 year free MRT-3 rides for soldiers
Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3)
Soldiers are given a year of free train rides, courtesy of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3.
This is in line with a memorandum of agreement to be signed Wednesday by the Department of Transportation (DOTr,) MRT-3 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP.)
The project is a small gesture to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of the members of the military in order to maintain peace and national security.
For its part, the AFP in return will offer medical assistance and allow the use of its service ambulance in time of crisis and emergencies.
Last year, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) inked a similar agreement with the AFP which takes effect until December 2018. — Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue
Ex-SAF chief sacked for plunder charges
FILE PHOTO: Former PNP-SAF Chief Benjamin Lusad
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) chief and police director for Integrated Police Operations – Southern Luzon Benjamin Lusad has been sacked for plunder charges.
This is after the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft complaints against the police officer.
The case was due to his failure to release funds of SAF daily subsistence allowance in 2016 and 2017.
“There are two officers involved and two non-commissioned officers. Yung nasa SAF na dalawang natitirang non-commissioned officers had already been relieved,” PNP PIO chief PCSupt. John Bulalacao.
(There are two officers and two non-commissioned officers involved. The two SAF non-commissioned officers have already been relieved from their posts.)
According to Bulalacao, SAF budget and fiscal officer SSupt. Andre Dizon and his staff, SPO2 Maila Salazar Bustamante and SPO1 James Rica, have also been dismissed from their positions.
The spokesman said this is to give way to the Ombudsman’s investigation.
Outgoing PNP chief has previously stated that he was not convinced by Lusad’s explanation on the issue.
“Sabi ko ng kailangang harapin nila yan. Andyan na ang kaso. Kinasuhan sila sa ombudsman. Harapin nila yan,” Dela Rosa said.
(I said they need to face it. There’s already a case. The ombudsman filed charges against them. Face the charges.)
Currently, the PNP comptroller is conducting investigation and audit over the unreleased allowances.
“Tama na ang dapat managot at may kinalaman, basta’t lumabas lang ang katotohanan. Therefore the PNP will closely coordinate with the ombudsman,” the PNP spokesperson said.
(Enough already with the finger-pointing, as long as the truth comes out. The PNP, therefore, will closely coordinate with the ombudsman.)
The subsistence allowance is worth P30 a day or P900 per month. An estimated P59.8-million worth of allowance has been delayed for two years. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue