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Whistleblower raises alarm

  • Written by Paul Gutierrez
  • Published in Top Stories
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Featured Rhodora Alvarez Rhodora Alvarez

HELICOPTER scam whistleblower Rhodora Alvarez, who previously filed charges against top Department of National Defense (DND) officials in connection with the anomalous deal, has bared yet another potential anomaly in the agency, this time involving the supply contract for military drones.

“May sindikato sa loob ng DND. Sana mabuwag na po ito. Sayang lamang ang pera ng bayan sa mga walang kwentang gawain ng mga walang pusong tao sa loob ng sistema. Alam ko po na mahirap itong gawin kaya ginagawa ko ang aking share as a Filipino at patuloy ko itong gagawin hanggang sa tuluyang maramdaman ang pagbabago. Alam kong hindi masasayang ang aking mga sakripisyo dahil narito na ang pagbabago,” Alvarez said in a statement on Sunday.

She said she will write President Rodrigo Duterte a letter detailing how deals are “fixed” at the agency, from pre-qualification bidding to actual contract awards.

Alvarez said that a random check on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps) website led her to a questionable posting last July 29, 2016, a Friday, regarding an Invitation to Bid (ITB) with reference number 3971300 and Solicitation # 04213531 coming from the DND asking for bids on the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) Acquisition Project with an approved budget cost of P684,230,000.00.

The Pre-bid conference was supposed to be conducted the following Monday, August 1, 2016 at 10 a.m. at the DND-BAC Secretariat. 
   
What snagged her eyes, she said, was the heading “Other Information” appearing at the bottom portion of the webpage which states: “Please be informed that the bidding process for this project is already finished. This is only for compliance of posting of NOA and NTP.”
   
The post was created by Amelia M Garrero, Executive Assistant of DND BAC Secretariat. Alvarez claimed anyone can easily conclude that the posting was a ruse, a “red flag” that gives birth to a multitude of questions that must be answered
     
“Dito pa lamang sa posting na ito ay nakikita ko na ang pagkakatulad sa pangyayari sa UH 1 project. Sino ba naman ako para paniwalaan but this is worth a try. Sana mag-conduct ng initial investigation ang bagong SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) sa project na ito at sana rin ang magsalita ang mga proponents involved at sabihin ang lahat ng kanilang nalalaman,” Alvarez noted.
   
“Isa sa nakatawag ng aking pansin ang isang posting na ginawa ni MS. Amelia Garrero. Sa aking pagkaalala, retired na ang taong ito. Noong huli kaming magkita sa DND BAC Secretariat Office, January 2014, sinabi niya sa akin na retired na sya. Nagtataka lang ako sa posting na ito na siya pa rin ang nandon,” she pointed out.
   
Alvarez, who appeared as witness before the Senate investigation into the anomalous P1.2 billion chopper deal, claimed her attention was caught by the Phigeps post only last week.
     
“Nakatawag ng aking pansin ang isa sa posting sa Philgeps. Una, bakit si Amelia Garrero pa rin? Secondly, nag-post ng July 29, Friday na may prebid conference ng August 1, Monday? How can a legitimate supplier respond to this with such a short notice? Is the DND back to business as usual?” she asked.
   
Based on her experience, Alvarez said that in the UH 1 project, the project had been manipulated before it was posted on the transparency website.
     
“In the case of UH 1 project, tapos ng mag usap ang DND SBAC 1 members headed by former DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo tungkol sa project bago pa man mag post ng invitation to Bid at mag post sa Philgeps,” she averred.
   
Alvarez explained that she was inspired by Duterte’s remarks sat week during his visits in various military camps in Mindanao, where he promised do away with the corrupt DND procurement in order to equip soldiers with  superior  weapons and technologically advanced devices to best help them accomplish their mission.
     
“This had me jumping for joy since this was the primordial reason why I mustered courage to expose DND officials involved in the botched helicopter deal last year,” she said.