Ombudsman orders filing of graft charges vs Versoza, 7 other PNP execsBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Friday ordered the filing of graft charges against retired Philippine National Police Director Jesus Versoza and seven other police officials over alleged irregularities in the purchase of P131.5-million worth of rescue boats in 2008.
In a 109-page resolution, Morales affirmed the findings of a panel of investigators that the government suffered undue injury because the 75 rubber boats and 93 outboard motors had deficiencies when delivered by the suppliers.
It was among the issues at the Department of Interior and Local Government being investigated by its former chief, Jesse Robredo, before he died in a plane crash off Masbate on August 18.
The procurement of the emergency rubber boats and spare engines was part of the PNPs Annual Procurement Plan for 2008 under its Capability Enhancement Program Funds.
Aside from Verzosa, charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were P/DDG Jefferson Soriano, P/DDG Benjamin Belarmino, Jr., P/Dir. Luizo Ticman, P/Dir. Ronald Roderos, P/Dir. Romeo Hilomen, P/CSupt. Herold Ubalde, and P/CSupt. Villamor Bumanglag.
Three proponents participated in the bidding but only the Joint Venture of Enviro-Aire and Stoneworks Specialist International Corporation were found eligible. However, the bidding was cancelled after two big typhoons—Ondoy and Pepeng—battered the country just one week apart in September 2009, prompting the PNP to opt for a faster negotiated procurement process.
The PNP was unable to use them then because it took roughly six months before the suppliers could deliver the boats and engines.
Records disclosed that the PNP entered into four separate supply contracts all dated December 18, 2009 with the following suppliers:
• EnviroAire for the supply of 93 units of boats with contract price of P44,175,000;
• EnviroAire for the supply of 10 units of outboard motors with contract price of P11,650,000;
• Geneve for the supply of 41 units of outboard motors with contract price of P47,765,000; and
• Bay Industrial for the supply of 10 units of outboard motors with contract price of P11,650,000.
Upon delivery of the initial batch of rubber boats and spare engines, the PNP Maritime Group, through its Technical Inspection Committee on Watercrafts, “discovered various deficiencies in the equipment, which make their use risky to end-users,” the resolution read.
At the same time, the boats and engines were not functional when fitted, leaving the rubber boats unusable for disaster operations, it said.
Robredo’s investigation eventually led to the filing of a letter complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices then recommended the conduct of a formal inquiry into the issue.
Morales created a panel of investigators composed of Director Diosdado Calonge and Director Nellie Boguen-Golez as co-chairs, with Assistant Special Prosecutor Anna Isabel Aurellano, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Myra Sarmiento-Borromeo, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Israel Lay-at, and Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Christian Yap as members.
They recommended the filing of the criminal case with the Sandiganbayan, which was approved by Morales.