Minority senators want inquiry on frigates acquisition project

Senators part of minority bloc have filed Senate Resolution No. 584 seeking for an inquiry on the status of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program with focus on the acquisition of 2 frigates for Philippine Navy.

The resolution filed earlier this week, is asking Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, and the Congressional Oversight Committee on AFP Modernization Act.

Senators from the minority bloc are Minority leader Senator Franklin Drilon, Senators Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes.

The proposed inquiry stemmed from the relieving of former Philippine Navy Flag-Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Joseph Mercado who resisted the use of a Hanwha combat management system (CMS) for the frigates to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

The senators said the contract with HHI “stipulates options between Hanwha Thales of South Korea, a subcontractor of Hyundai, and Tacticos Thales of Netherlands to provide Combat Management System (CMS) for the warships. Mercado allegedly insisted tapping Tacticos Thales to install the combat management system on the two frigates because of the dissolution of the Hanwha Thales consortium in July 2016 before the contract with HHI was signed. However, HHI wanted to use Hanwha Systems, the subcontractor that replace Hanwha Thales.”

Notice of Award to HHI was signed by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on August 18, 2016; DND and HHI signed the contract on October 25, 2016; HHI received the Notice to Proceed on December 13, 2016.

The project was initiated under the Aquino administration.

Source: http://senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2713223356!.pdf