Lorenzana to tell all frigate project updates in Senate hearing

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 14, 2018, 10:36 am

MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will tell all about the PHP18 billion Frigate Acquisition Program (FAP) during next week's hearing at the Senate.

"Wait for the hearing na lang. (Just wait for the hearing.) It will be (answered all in the) public hearing," he said in a message to the PNA Tuesday afternoon.

Lorenzana made the statement in response to questions on updates on the FAP program and calls from some sectors to cancel or rebid the project following reports of alleged anomalies.

Earlier, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said they strongly welcome any investigation on the FAP as it is hiding nothing.

"The DND welcomes the plan of the Senate to conduct an investigation on the Frigate Acquisition Project. In fact, we have long been waiting for the opportunity to shed light on this issue so that the truth will finally be known," he added.

The FAP is one of the key pieces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program as it seeks to provide the country with the capability to deal with air, surface and sub-surface threats.

It will be armed with a variety of missiles and guns capable of defeating such threats.

Earlier, Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano claimed that FAP project is riddled with anomalies and that its design was altered from the original.

This includes the alleged preference for the Hanwha CMS, the lawmaker said.

Earlier, the DND cleared Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go of any interference in the FAP following reports claiming that the latter interfered with the project.

"The President has already addressed the issue of the alleged 'intervention' of the SAP Christopher “Bong” Go in the PN Frigate Acquisition Project," Andolong said.

"The Secretary of National Defense (Delfin Lorenzana) is confirming that no intervention or interference by Secretary Bong Go happened. The document that the SND alluded to have been given to him by Secretary Bong Go was handed to him at the Palace, so he assumed that it came from Secretary Go, the Special Assistant to the President and Chief of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS). It should be noted that the one of the tasks of the PMS includes the official routing and endorsement of documents to government agencies concerned, for appropriate action," he added.

Andolong said the subject document originated from Hanwha, one of the proponents for the CMS who was post-qualified by the Philippine Navy for the FAP.

The DND spokesperson said there was neither hint nor guidance from the Palace or from Go to influence the implementation of the project.

"There is a contract for the FAP which was crafted mainly by the Philippine Navy and it will be implemented strictly to the letter," Andolong pointed out. (PNA)