Ombudsman dismisses 2 PNP officials in armored vehicle repair anomalyBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines–Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismissed from services the officials of the Philippine National Police Officers (PNP) involved in the anomalous repair and maintenance of 28 units of V-150 PNP Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) in 2007 worth P400 million.
In a 10-page Supplemental Joint Resolution released Thursday, Morales dismissed Antonio Retrato, Accounting Division Chief; and Eulito Fuentes, Supply Accountable Officer after they were found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty. Aside from dismissal from public service all their benefits are forfeited and they are perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The Resolution stated that “[i]f the penalty of dismissal from the service can no longer be served by reason of resignation or retirement, the alternative penalty of fine equivalent to one year salary is imposed, in addition to the same accessory penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.”
However, the Ombudsman absolved Chief Superintendent Mario San Diego, a member of the PNP National Headquarters Bids and Awards Committee as “there is no substantial evidence to hold him administratively liable for Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty.”
Retrato and Fuentes are already facing a case for violation of the Anti-Graft Law, the Government Procurement Act and Malversation through Falsification before the Sandiganbayan.
On Aug. 14, 2007, then PNP Chief Director Gen. Oscar Calderon initiated the request for repair and refurbishing of 10 V-150 LAVs in connection with the PNP Special Action Force’s (SAF) capacity build-up program for P275,365,000. Subsequently however, former PNP Chief Gen. Avelino Razon requested for a supplemental budget for the repair and refurbishing of remaining 18 LAVs.
The Ombudsman’s fact-finding investigation, in its complaint said there were irregularity in the “bidding process, awarding of contracts and utilization of funds intended for the repair/refurbishment of 28 V-150s of the PNP.”
Morales said the “public respondents circumvented the provisions of the Government Procurement Act to take private firms Serpenair, Enviro-Aire, Evans, RJP, Dex-Lan and RKGK Enterprises as the direct suppliers.” It also said that “the government suffered injury in the amount of P409,740,000, representing the cost of the highly irregular transactions, and that the said companies were given unwarranted benefit, undue advantage or preference as the contracts were awarded to them despite non-compliance with law and without actual delivery of goods and services at the time of payment.”