Senator Kiko Pangilinan raises red flag on P300 billion “Midnight Deal” for AFP modernization

June 1, 2010

Press Release
June 1, 2010

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan warns the public against possible midnight deals being hatched by the Arroyo administration, supposedly in fulfillment of the long-delayed modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Pangilinan issues the warning amid reports that Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales was planning to cram the purchase of P300 billion worth of refurbished or surplus equipment from Israel, Canada, Australia, Italy, and South Korea–some of which had been returned to their suppliers ‘due to poor performance in bad weather and low light conditions.’

“Why must we cram such large and crucial purchases into the last month of this administration’s term when, in fact, the Multi-Year Obligational Authority for the AFP is not co-terminus with the outgoing administration? Why should we shove surplus equipment down our Armed Forces’ throats when what they need is new and better equipment to serve the needs of our countrymen?”

“These deals need to be looked into lest we once again enter into anomalous contracts that can spell the difference between life and death for our servicemen.”

The proposed AFP modernization also includes the realignment of P2 billion worth of funds for “intelligence” and “Social Integration Program.” These are subject to less stringent government accounting and auditing controls.

“Sino ba ang totoong makikinabang sa mga last-two-minutes na mga kontratang ito? Kung tutoong tapat ang gobyerno sa pag-modernisa ng AFP, dapat pag-aralan pang mabuti ang mga offer ng mga suppliers para hindi malagay sa alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga hukbo at mga mamamayan.”