Go to quit if proven he meddled in frigate project

MANILA — Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go on Wednesday said he would step down if proven that he interfered in the procurement process of the Department of National Defense (DND) of its warships’ computer system.

In fact, I will resign if it can be proven that I intervened, Go said in a press statement.

On Tuesday, Go denied hand in the selection process of the combat management system (CMS) supplier for the Philippine Navy’s PHP15.7-billion frigate program.

According to media reports, he allegedly favored supplier Naval Shield Integrated CMS of Hanwha Thales while the Philippine Navy preferred another supplier Tacticos CMS of Thales Nederlands, Inc.

My name has been unfairly dragged in this issue. I am not privy to the frigate transaction of the DND, he said.

Go said he had never seen a white paper which he allegedly handed to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressing his choice of the Korean supplier.

I have never seen the controversial document (white paper) that is alleged to have come from me, much less, handed the same to SND Lorenzana, Go explained.

He emphasized that the frigate project was already a done deal in 2016 during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.

In a media interview Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would fire Go if the media, particularly Rappler, could prove that his special assistant had indeed intervened in the DND procurement.

And if you can find, I will ask Bong to resign tomorrow (Wednesday). Work on (it) tonight. Let me know tomorrow and I will fire him if he did intervene, even for one word, President Duterte told the Rappler reporter.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that it would be futile for Go to intervene in the choice of the CMS since it was already included in the awarded frigates during the time of President Aquino.

This proves that Rappler’s allegation against SAP Go is without legal and factual basis. Rappler, once again, has peddled fake news, Roque said in a press statement.

Roque also downplayed the call of Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano to cancel the frigate project for the purchase of two warships for Navy.

On what basis? This administration issued notice of award after PNoy (former President Benigno Aquino III) administration under then SND (Voltaire) Gazmin declared an alleged lower compliant bidder, Roque said.

Roque said that Alejano should instead blame the previous administration that took the bidding and chose the winning bidder.

This administration only issued the notice of award which was ministerial. We had no other option under RA 9184. Tell Alejano to vent his ire on his yellow friends please, he added.

The acquisition of the frigates was entered into as early as June 2013 but the procurement was approved by Gazmin only on June 24, 2016.

On March 17, 2016, the submission and opening of the bids was done while on June 9, 2016, the winnig bidder, Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, was appointed with a bid prize of PHP15.74 million for two frigates.

I think this chronology of events, as well as the legal provisions of the government procurement law will belie in the report of Rappler that SAP Go in anyway intervened in connection with the acquisition and procurement of these two frigates, Roque said in a press briefing in La Union.

Source: Philippine News Agency