Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday assured that the P18-billion Frigate Acquisition Program (FAP) of the Philippine Navy would push through despite the controversy surrounding it.
‘With all the facts we know about the frigate (project)? No,” he said in a text message when asked if the FAP would be cancelled.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano claimed that the FAP project was riddled with anomalies and that its original design has been modified. Alejano said one of the anomalies was the alleged preference for the Hanwha CMS.
Arsenio Andolong, DND public affairs office chief, said the department was prepared to face an investigation on the FAP project, including one to be conducted by the Senate.
“The DND welcomes the plan of the Senate to conduct an investigation on the Frigate Acquisition Project,” Andolong said.
“In fact, we have long been waiting for the opportunity to shed light on this issue so that the truth will finally be known,” he added.
The FAP is one of the key parts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program which seeks to strengthen the country’s capability to deal with air, surface and sub-surface threats. The frigate is armed with a variety of missiles and guns that are capable of defeating such threats.
Andolong said Alejano’s allegations were innuendoes which are not legal grounds for the project’s termination.
“There is a proper process prescribed in RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) concerning the termination of a procurement project, and there are specific conditions that must be present to invoke it, none of which are existing at the moment in this project,” DND Spokesman Arsenio Andolong said.
Andolong said these claims were mere allegations and innuendos which hardly constitute grounds for termination of the project.Pag
On the alleged “intervention” by Secretary Christopher “Bong Go,” Special Assistant to the President and Chief
of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), in the project, Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte himself already cleared Go of any wrongdoing.
The defense secretary stressed that no intervention or interference was made by Go to influence the implementation of the project contrary to media reports.
He was referring to the document handed to him by Go at Malacanang Palace which supposedly originated from Hanwha, one of the proponents of the Combat Management System (CMS) who was post-qualified by the FAP.
Lorenzana forwarded it to the then Flag-Officer-In-Command of the Philippine Navy for appropriate action. Commodore Robert Empedrad, the FAP Management Team head at the time, wrote a reply to the document stating the PN’s preferred CMS, subject to the terms and conditions of the contract. #