PNP backs probe of ‘ghost’ repairs of armored vehiclesBy DJ Yap, Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it is willing to cooperate with the Office of the Ombudsman’s probe into the “ghost repairs” of 28 light armored vehicles that cost the government more than P400 million in 2007.
“The PNP will consider this our gain if the investigation is done well,” PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said, noting that the probe was consistent with the PNP leadership’s reform agenda.
“The PNP will benefit from this because now we can correct what is wrong with the system… After all, because of the nature of the vehicles [which are used in combat situations], we are talking about the lives of our personnel on the ground,” Cerbo said in a briefing at Camp Crame, noting that some of the vehicles in question were still in use by PNP forces, while others were in reserve.
He added that financial and logistics management were among the 10 targets prioritized by PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier approved a fact-finding report finding PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr., 26 PNP personnel and 12 private individuals liable for plunder, graft, malversation through falsification of public documents and violation of the procurement law.
The fact-finding probe was conducted by the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices, which subsequently filed the criminal complaint against the officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.
It also filed an administrative complaint for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty against the officials.
The case stemmed from the P400 million worth of contracts awarded to six firms in 2007 to repair and refurbish 28 V-150 Light Armored Vehicles, which was found to have involved “gross violations” of Commission on Audit regulations, including the repairs costing more than 30 percent of the original acquisition price.
The fact-finding investigation found that there were ghost deliveries of engines and transmissions and no records of waste materials to show that engines and parts of the armored vehicles were actually replaced.
It also found something dubious in the procurement process, owing to the lack of bidding documents, possible bidders, pre-procurement conferences, pre-bid conference and post-qualification process.
The fact-finding committee also noted the “haste” with which the claims were processed and payments made in January 2007, “even before the first of the refurbished units were yet to be delivered seven months later.”
Razon earlier denied that there were ghost repairs and said the light armored vehicles were really refurbished. He also denied colluding with suppliers to rig the bidding.
He added that he believed his subordinates in the PNP’s bids and awards committee had acted in good faith, and that it was only acting in the PNP’s best interest.
Also to be investigated are: former Deputy Director General Reynaldo Varill; Directors Charlemagne Alejandrino, Eliseo Dela Paz and Geary Barias; former Chief Supt. Ray Roderos; Chief Supt. Mario San Diego; former Chief Supt. Teodorico Lapuz; Sr. Supt. Emmanuel Ojeda; Sr. Supt. Reuel Leverne Labrado; Chief Insp. Analee Forro; Supt. Edgar Paatan; Supt. Henry Duque; SPO4 Victor Puddao; Supt. Josefina Dumanew; Sr. Supt. Victor Agarcio; Supt Warlito Tubon; SPO4 Alfredo Laviña; Sr. Supt. Rainier Espina; PNP Accounting Division Chief Antonio Retrato; PNP Resident Supervising Auditor Jaime Serrano; Technical Audit Specialist Amor Quiambao; nonuniformed personnel Eulito Fuentes, Alex Barrameda, Patricia Enaje, Maria Teresa Narcise and Nancy Basallo; and 12 private individuals who acted as suppliers/bidders.
Morales formed a special panel of investigators to lead the probe, which was given 45 days to complete its task.
Its members are Acting Director Manuel Soriano Jr., Julita Calderon, Maria Theresa Lee-Rafols, Emerita Francia and Myla Teona Teologio.