DND blindsided by Transparency report, labels it 'unfair'

By Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2013 03:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2013 11:46 PM

MANILA - The Department of National Defense on Wednesday labeled as unfair a Transparency International study that included the Philippines among countries found to be in "very high risk" of corruption in its military and police institutions.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippine military has been very transparent since 2010 when President Benigno Aquino III came to power. He said the DND employs strict rules and processes to make everyone accountable.

"Napakadami na nating repormang ginagawa. Even our bidding process right now is very transparent. We invite the media. We invite the civil society organizations, even the Makati Business Club are invited during biddings. We have instituted so many things," he said.

Gazmin suspects that Transparency International may have the used as basis the transactions entered into by the DND in 2011. He said the military also underwent investigation due to revelations of former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot about alleged corruption among former AFP chiefs.

"Baka ang basis nila nun at the time na pumasok ang president 2010, by 2011 nagkaroon ng massive investigation sa Armed Forces. Remember the corruption issue against [former comptroller Carlos] Garcia, Ligot. Na-involve si [former AFP chief Angelo] Reyes ano, so that might have triggered the speculations,” he said.

DND Spokesman Peter Galvez, said the department was not asked and thus, was deprived the opportunity to check the data gathered by the anti-corruption watchdog.

Transparency International’s Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index placed the Philippines among "band E" countries, or those where lack of accountability and weak congressional oversight placed their defense sectors at "very high" risk of corruption. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/01/29/13/very-high-risk-corruption-ph-defense

Galvez said they would formally ask Transparency International UK to revalidate its survey.

"Why did they release this study? And it's unfair to other countries to be branded with very high risk (of corruption) without properly validated data," he said.

Patrick Velez, assistant secretary for acquisition, installation and logistics, enumerated the reforms implemented by the DND in its procurement and financial systems.

These include internal auditing, which includes intelligence funds, the computerization of data, and the strengthening of monitoring mechanisms such as lifestyle checks on officers.

DND is also eyeing the strengthening of the Office of the Inspector General to give him more power to investigate erring officials.

"We want to show the world that we've changed and we're really cleaning our act. We want to be a progressive and developed country," said Velez.