House to probe P1.2-B ‘defective’ AFP helicopters
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will conduct an inquiry into the procurement by the Department of National Defense (DND) of allegedly defective helicopters worth P1.21 billion.

The investigation was prompted by Resolution 1995, filed by Reps. Romeo Acop of Antipolo City, Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinan and Samuel Pagdilao of party-list group ACT-CIS. The three are former senior police officers.

In their resolution, the three said the DND entered into a contract on Dec. 23, 2013 with the joint venture of Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. and Eagle Copters, Ltd. for the acquisition of 21 UH-1 Huey helicopters, “including integrated logistics support (ILS) or spare parts.”

“It is stipulated in the contract that the joint venture must be able to deliver the 21 helicopters within 180 days, including ILS package, or until Sept. 21, 2014,” they said.

However, on Sept. 21, the suppliers delivered only 10 units, of which the DND accepted only two “because the other helicopters were found to have defective engines and insufficient spare parts and accessories, and were likewise not compliant with the technical requirements set in the contract,” the three said.

They added that one helicopter delivered on June 22 had no rotor blades.

Acop and his colleagues pointed out that there were allegations that Rice Aircraft Services “had deliberately falsified bid documents and forged the signature of Philippine Air Force officers in order to qualify for the transaction.”

“It also misrepresented during the negotiation that they have the facility and the capability to comply with the 180-day delivery period, deceived the government by delivering rather obsolete and dilapidated UH-1 units and hired retired Air Force technicians who are not familiar with the UH-1 helicopter,” they said.

These irregularities have placed the government and the AFP “in the most disadvantageous situation,” they said.

But they pointed out what was surprising was that the DND, “instead of terminating the contract, allowed the suppliers to continue with the delivery of the helicopters despite their contract violations.”

The anomalies warrant a congressional investigation, they added.

The three former police officers turned lawmakers stressed that the failure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to send rescue aircraft in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 “brought to public attention the lack of available AFP helicopters deployed in Mindanao.”

“This gave rise to public clamor for the AFP to account for the helicopters it has procured,” they said.

They said it took American military contractors to help transport wounded police commandos to hospitals.

AIR FORCE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE EAGLE COPTERS HELICOPTERS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LEOPOLDO BATAOIL OF PANGASINAN AND SAMUEL PAGDILAO PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE RICE AIRCRAFT SERVICES ROMEO ACOP OF ANTIPOLO CITY
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