MANILA — The PHP16-billion Navy frigate deal was completed during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insisted Monday.
Roque made this remark after Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano urged Roque over the weekend to “familiarize” himself with the time line of the project before clearing the current administration.
Alejano earlier disagreed with Roque who said that the deal was completed during the previous administration noting that the warship contract was finalized between September 26 to 30, 2016 and signed on October 24, 2016 in President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
In a Palace briefing, Roque explained that all the current administration had to do was hand out a Notice of Award to the winning bidder.
“Kailan ba kinondak ang post-qualification? Panahon ni Presidente Aquino, ‘di ba? Ang ginawa lang ng administrasyon na ito, Agosto, iyong Notice of Award. Pero everything in the bidding, natapos na iyan during the administration of President Aquino (“When was post-qualification conducted? During the term of President Aquino, right? What this administration did in August, is the Notice of Award. But everything in the bidding was completed during the administration of President Aquino.”),” Roque said.
Roque said the reason why the Duterte administration pushed through with the Notice of Award was because it was difficult to invoke the ground that procurement was not necessary.
“Paano naman natin masasabing hindi kailangan ang procurement, may problema nga tayo sa West Philippine Sea (How can we say that we don’t need procurement when we have a problem in the West Philippine Sea)?” Roque said, asking Alejano not to teach him the law.
“My suggestion to Congressman Alejano, he’s my friend, but please don’t teach me the law,” he added.