Criminal raps await officers who scammed PNP with 2nd hand choppers
MANILA, Philippines – Criminal, or administrative charges, may await the comptrollers who were responsible for the purchase of three helicopters worth P105 million in 2009 for the air unit of the Special Action Force, said Philippine National Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr..
Cruz said that two of the three choppers were later confirmed to have been used equipment passed off as new, paving the way for possible charges against the comptrollers if proven that they screwed up while performing their duties.
But Cruz could not name the officials who may have been involved in the transaction. He did say, however, that the PNP chief who approved the purchase could appear before the investigating committee, though that would be the call of the Senators in the committee.
The national police had, in fact, sent a demand letter to the Manila Aerospace Products Trading (MAPTRA), Cruz said, asking for replacements for the two Robinson R44 Raven II helicopters which had shown five-year old flight logs, even before the purchase.
The demand letter came with a warning for MAPTRA “to faithfully comply with the approved supply contract….and that appropriate legal action shall be taken against them should they fail to comply.”
Cruz stressed that all this had happened even before Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson exposed the anomalous purchase of the said helicopters. He said that the aircraft were obviously misrepresented. “Apparently the old helicopters were passed off as brand new,” he said.
He explained that the demand letter had only been sent this year “because all the while they (the PNP) thought they were flying brand new (helicopters).
Cruz said it was only after a recent maintenance check that they saw the discrepancy in the flight logs of the two helicopters. Cruz said that the PNP SAF submitted a report on the state of the helicopters after records from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines confirmed that they were not brand new new at all.
Cruz said that PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo had warned those managing the police force’s procurements, from the National Headquarters Bids and Awards Committee (NHQ BAC), Regional Bids and Awards Committee (RBACs), and other procuring units, to ensure transparency and strict compliance with Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), and other laws and regulations pertaining to procurement.
The helicopters were being used by the Sky Patrol unit of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and were docked at the PNP SAF’s hangar at the domestic airport, said the spokesman.
But he did not provide information on the alleged selling of the Arroyo family’s helicopters to the PNP. “We have no records on that,” he said, suggesting that the records may be found at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
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