ANOTHER POSSIBLE AFP SCAM?: Senate, House urged to also probe sale of 2 armored cars PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 February 2011 15:20

Amid the ongoing inquiry on alleged large-scale graft and corrupt practices in the Armed Forces, former Sulu congressman Munir Arbison is strongly asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to include the investigation of “STEELCRAFT Military Land Defense” that manufactured two units of the branded MX-8 Barako armored vehicles, each mounted with a 50-caliber machinegun, and sold them to a Sulu civilian government official for P12 million.

“I ask our able legislators of the Senate and the House of Representatives to also look into this matter in consonance with the ongoing inquiry to stamp out graft and corruption in our military,” Arbison said.
One of the machine copies of documents furnished DZT showed that the MX-8 Barako armored vehicles in question were manufactured by STEELCRAFT Military Land Defense based in Balintawak, Quezon City. The project was the brainchild of a retired Army chief and subsequently developed by the Research and Development Branch of the Philippine Army. The development of the MX-8 prototype started in 2005 and carried out under the Self Reliant Defense Posture Law. Costing P6 million each, the MX-8 Barako has an armor level equivalent to the Simba Armored Personnel Carrier and mobility equal to a military Humvee transport with short turning radius.

A copy of a letter dated January 29, 2010 disclosed that the former chief of the Armed Forces had confirmed the existence of the armored vehicles and owned by the Sulu public official. Arbison, who was then in his third term as congressman, filed a complaint with authorities and sought for an in-depth probe on the sale of the armed vehicles for civilian use.

“The multi-million pesos cost and sale of the armored vehicles are highly questionable and must not be ignored. Monetary transactions of this nature could expose additional illegal self aggrandizement schemes among military officers,” he said.

“Military hardware like tanks or APCs are strictly for military use in carrying out its mandate as legitimate armed protectors of the country,” Arbison pointed out, adding, that their sale and/or ownership by civilians or civilian authorities are prohibited by law.

The two armored vehicles fitted with the high caliber machineguns were utilized by the official for private or personal activities in the province, the former solon said.