Senate probe good opportunity to clear frigate project: DND spox

MANILA — The Senate’s hearing on the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) is a good opportunity for the Department of National Defense (DND) to shed light on the matter.

“I (would) like to reiterate that we have been waiting for this opportunity so that the truth may finally be told,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Sunday.

And when asked on what the DND plans to present on Monday’s hearing, Andolong said they intend to present in full details the FAP and other items in the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

He added that they fully intend to answer questions that the Senate committee intends to ask on the FAP and other projects.

Andolong also expressed confidence that DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will be cleared of any accusation of wrongdoing.

“I believed so because even during the previous administration everything was aboveboard, when the SND (Secretary of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana) took over he ordered a review of all the projects including this one, and I can say that he has done nothing to suggest that he was involved in any anomaly or manipulation of this project,” the DND spokesperson added.

Also, Andolong reiterated that Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go has no involvement or intervention of any kind to the FAP contract worth PHP18 billion, including the weapons systems and munitions.

Wala talaga siyang involvement. (He has really no involvement.) It was just a simple inquiry, a letter from a sub-component supplier (Hanwha) to the project na nag-clarify lang ng kanyang position on their product na ang ginawa lang naman ni Bong Go, o ng kanyangoffice, since it was defense-related ipinasa sa DND. (It’s just asking for a clarification of his position on their product. Bong Go, or his office, since it was defense-related, they forwarded it to the DND.) Hindi siya mismo ang tumawag (It was not him who called) from what I understand from the Secretary, he did not write any memo suggesting anything except the paper was just sent, walang (there was no) marginalia eh,” he added.

Earlier, the DND spokesperson said allegations hurled against the FAP are all just innuendos.

“As far as the DND is concerned, we are not favoring any, some component supplier to the project, we are just dealing with Hyundai (Heavy Industries) even during the bidding process, Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) precludes us from giving, favoring any particular manufacturer of the frigate itself,” Andolong stressed.