De Lima backs Senate probe into AFP, Mislatel Consortium deal; says such move is another “treachery”

Published September 20, 2019, 6:35 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Friday said she supports the move to conduct a Senate investigation into the questionable joint venture of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the China-led Mislatel Consortium to build communication facilities inside Philippine military camps.

FACING ARREST – Senator Leila de Lima is in fighting form in this photo taken at a press conference in the Senate last Tuesday. A regional trial court on Thursday ordered her arrest. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

At the same time, De Lima slammed the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the AFP and the Dito Telecommunity Corp.—formerly known as the Mislatel consortium—saying the action is tantamount to treachery “in the same league as President Rodrigo Duterte’s setting aside our claim over the West Philippine Sea and his entering into onerous deals with the Chinese government.”

“Since the start of the Duterte administration, the public remains in the dark over the deals the government has been making with China. We do not know what the exact consequences of these deals are,” De Lima pointed out.

“We just might wake up one day with our sovereignty totally stripped off our nation, all because of the deals President Duterte made with China,” she lamented.

De Lima said this is why Congress needs to assert its oversight function and look into this MOA between the AFP and Mislatel Consortium.

“I fully support Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ Senate Resolution 137 (which calls on the Senate) to look into the agreement as our sovereignty is already in a compromising position,” the detained senator said.

“Nakataya ang seguridad ng ating bansa sa kasunduang ito (Or national security is at stake in this agreement),” she pointed out.

De Lima warned that this agreement sets a precedent that the country’s national security is lax and that China can now easily buy public officials and generals into setting up espionage equipment, disguised as communication facilities right inside the country’s own military camps.

“Any time now, this Trojan Horse will be knocking on the gates of different facilities and expose our other vulnerabilities,” she said.

De Lima noted there have been many deals that the Duterte administration has made with China-backed institutions, many of which have been blacklisted for their anomalous transactions.

“But this MOA takes the cake for virtually giving away our national security to China in a silver platter,” she lamented.