Gibo cites record vs corruption at DND anniversary
- James Mananghaya () - November 10, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro yesterday took pride in his department’s efforts to curb corruption and malpractice during his two-year stint as he bade farewell to employees ahead of his resignation to prepare for the 2010 presidential campaign.

He is expected to step down from office on Monday.

In his speech during the 70th anniversary celebration of the Department of National Defense (DND), Teodoro said during his term, the DND worked to uphold its integrity and credibility.

“I’m very glad to report, and everyone of us could be part (of this), that there have been no scandals, there have been attempts, but we have nipped them in the bud,” he said.

“But we do not stop there because our people deserve the best and the cleanest utilization of their money.”

Teodoro also announced that he had ordered an investigation into the delivery of substandard mortar ammunition following a report from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

After his speech that moved some employees to tears, Teodoro went around to thank his people for their support.

“So finally it’s time, except for the formalities, to say goodbye to each and every one of you. We thank you for the support that you have given us. It has been some of the best times in my life. Although I’ve never worked so hard in my life, never have I felt such a sense of fulfillment, because I was working with each and every one of you,” he said.

Teodoro, in an interview after the ceremony, said he feels sad because he would leave an office with hardworking people, especially during the onslaught of recent typhoons that devastated several parts of Luzon.

“It’s a phase in your life, you know you really have to move on and sometimes you’ve already served your purpose. I already probably served my purpose in this department and it’s up to somebody else to continue,” he said.

But the 45-year-old defense chief declined to comment on his replacement as DND chief, saying it’s between him and President Arroyo.

Last Saturday, Teodoro bade farewell to cadets and officers of the Philippine Military Academy. 

After the ceremony at the DND, Teodoro proceeded to the Navy’s Special Operations Group and Philippine Fleet headquarters in Sangley Point, Cavite City where he also said his goodbyes.

Probe on ammunition

Teodoro ordered an investigation into the delivery of substandard mortar ammunition for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, following a report by the FBI.

Teodoro said he assigned defense undersecretary Ariston de los Reyes to lead the probe on the ammunition delivery by Talon Security Consulting and Trade Ltd.

The defense chief said the FBI found that the ammunition for 60 mm and 81 mm mortars delivered in 2007 were defective because the fuses were those of 100 mm mortar rounds, while the tail fins for 81 mm mortars were those used in the 60 mm rounds, which could malfunction when used.

“There’s a chance that these could flop or what we call duds because high power charges are needed to arm the fuse, which are bigger than the specified ones,” he said.

If used in the field, Teodoro said the ammunition, which came from Serbia, could also be recovered by armed groups and used as improvised explosive devices.

He did not say immediately how much the entire delivery costs, but said the FBI report classified it as top secret.

He said that the investigation would also focus on determining the liability of the supplier and those involved in the procurement of the articles.

“We would see how they were delivered despite falling below standard,” he said.

But this early, AFP chief Gen. Victor Ibrado said the contractor, Talon Corp., could be held liable for the delivery.

Last June, Teodoro again ordered the scrapping of the bidding for P.5-billion worth of mortar ammunition after the department’s procurement committee failed to comply with the prescribed process.

Nelson Victorino, Teodoro’s spokesman, said the only qualified bidder, Talon Security Consulting and Trade Ltd., was found to have submitted false documentation.

“The secretary of national defense has declared a failure of bidding for the subject ammunition in compliance with Republic Act 9184 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations,” Victorino said.

He said awarding the contract to Talon notwithstanding the flaw would result in unduly favoring Talon.

After declaring a failure of the first bidding, Teodoro immediately ordered the rebidding of the ammunition to ensure the stable supply in the inventory and for reserves.

But he said supply and logistics officials of the AFP assured him that there is enough ammunition for troops in the frontlines.

Talon Security filed a case before the Quezon City regional trial court, which in turn issued a temporary restraining order on the rebidding of the defense article.

Victorino said this would only delay the whole procurement process.

He also denied Talon’s claim that it is the lowest bidder because the price it offered was the same as the approved budget for the contract, which is P264,680,000 for 40,720 rounds of 60mm mortar ammunition and P240,552,000 for 33,410 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition.

These, he said, are not brand new, but refurbished ammunition from Europe.

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