Press Release
June 16, 2015


Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III on Tuesday said he wants Defense officials to answer the "serious and potentially damaging allegations" by whistle-blower Rhodora Alvarez in connection with the purchase of 21 refurbished UH-1 helicopters.

Alvarez had earlier accused Defense officials of "tailor-fitting" the terms of reference for the said purchase to help Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. (RASI) bag the contract for the supply of the helicopters.

Senator Guingona said the accusations contained in an affidavit submitted by Alvarez are "disturbing." He expressed hope that the Department of National Defense (DND) will be able to answer them.

He cited in particular the allegations based on email exchanges Alvarez said she made with DND officials.

Among these is the purported email to Alvarez allegedly sent by Technical Working Group chair Brigadier General Conrado Parra where he supposedly discussed issues on delivery and payment schemes.

In the purported email, Parra allegedly said "I don't think they will allow that but still this can be discussed in the negotiations."

"I just don't know how far they can go in bending rules," Alvarez quoted Parra.

Alvarez also alleged that Parra had another exchange of email with the original RASI representative, Thac Nuyen, where they discussed how RASI can be considered qualified to deliver the purchased helicopters.

Alvarez also linked DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo and Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez to the alleged exchange of emails.

Senator Guingona said he has already given all concerned parties copies of the Alvarez affidavit.

"I am giving DND officials and executives of RASI ample opportunity to refute the allegations hurled against them in the Alvarez affidavit," he said.

Senator Guingona said he hopes "to get to the bottom of this issue soonest" and warned that the Committee "will hold parties accountable if the alleged 'tailor-fitting' is proven true".

"The government uses the People's money to make these purchases," he explained.

"To safeguard their money, the selection of suppliers must be guided by and based on a process and set rules and not on the whims of individuals who bend the rules and corrupt the process to favor a supplier," Senator Guingona added.

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