PNP orders rebidding of assault rifles contractBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Three months after President Benigno Aquino himself discovered that the M4 assault rifles offered by a lone bidder were overpriced and ordered that the P400-million deal be canceled, the PNP announced a new bidding for the firearms.
Director Arnulfo Perez, chief of logistics, said the PNP bids and awards committee (BAC) would open the public bidding for the procurement of 3,300 units of long firearms starting next month.
Unfazed by allegations that its purchase of P1.2-billion worth of pistols was tainted with anomalies, Perez said the PNP procurement team had started studying the best ceiling price they could get for the M4 rifles.
“We really have to fill up our shortage for the long firearms. But because they are more expensive, we decided to prioritize the purchase of the pistols,” Perez said in a news briefing at Camp Crame on Wednesday.
Parrying allegations of irregularities in its bidding process, Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, BAC chairman, vowed to follow strict government procurement laws “to the letter.”
“We want to assure the public that the PNP will exercise utmost transparency in all our dealings. I can tell you frankly that the present members of the BAC did not pocket even a single centavo (from these multimillion-peso procurement projects),” Sarmiento said.
“I just hope that we could put a closure to all these accusations and go on with the important procurement of supplies for the PNP,” he said.
The PNP-BAC had initially awarded the contract for the supply of 1,500 units of rifles to R. Espineli, the company which also originally bagged the supply contract for 59,904 units of handguns. R. Espineli, the lone bidder for the rifles, offered about P89,000 each for the M4 firearms manufactured by an Israeli guns manufacturer.
Like what happened to its bid for the pistols, the company was eventually disqualified when it failed to submit necessary documents.
Upon orders by the President, then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo called Senior Supt. Edwin Roque, head of the PNP-BAC secretariat, on June 25 to annul the contract with R. Espineli.
The President said he himself discovered on the Internet that the M4 rifles could be bought for as low as $800, or around P32,000 each.