Ombudsman to pursue case vs Verzosa, 7 others over rubber boat scam
MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Monday gave the green light to pursue the graft case against retired Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus Verzosa and seven others before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the questionable purchase of 75 defective police rubber boats in 2008.
In a 34-page Order dated Feb. 12 but was released Monday, Morales denied the motions for reconsideration filed by Verzosa, Police Deputy Director General Jefferson Soriano, Police Director Luizo Ticman, Director Romeo Hilomen, Chief Superintendent Herold Ubalde, Deputy Director General Benjamin Belarmino, Jr., and Chief Superintendent Villamor Bumanglag.
Morales affirmed the Sept. 26, 2012 ruling finding probable cause against the seven and Police Director Ronald Roderos to indict them for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman said the arguments raised by the police officials “are a mere rehash of their initial arguments set forth in their counter-affidavits which we already considered, weighed and resolved before we rendered the resolution sought to be considered.”
In the Ombudsman’s 109-page resolution dated Sept. 26, Morales affirmed the findings and recommendation of the Panel of Investigators that the government suffered undue injury worth P131.550 million due to the irregular purchase of the rubber boats.
The procurement of the 75 police rubber boats (PRB) and 18 spare engines or outboard motors (OBM) was part of the PNPs Annual Procurement Plan for 2008 under its Capability Enhancement Program Funds.
Three proponents participated in the bidding, only the Joint Venture of Enviro-Aire and Stoneworks Specialist International Corporation passed the eligibility and was set for post-qualification when typhoon struck the country. The PNP cancelled the bidding and opted to a negotiated procurement to make the process faster due to the destruction brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
But the PRBs and the OBMs were never used for its rescue operations because it still took roughly six months before the boats were delivered to the PNP.
Records disclosed that the PNP entered into four separate supply contracts all dated December 18, 2009 with the following suppliers: (a) EnviroAire for the supply of 93 units of OBMs with contract price of P44,175,000; (b) EnviroAire for the supply of 10 units of PRB with contract price of P11,650,000; (c) Geneve for the supply of 41 units of PRB with contract price of P47,765,000; and (d) Bay Industrial for the supply of 10 units of PRB with contract price of P11,650,000.
Upon delivery of the initial batch of PRBs and OBMs, the PNP Maritime Group through its Technical Inspection Committee on Watercrafts (MG-TICW) “discovered various deficiencies in these equipment, which make their use risky to end-users,” and that the boats and engines were not functional when fitted together, thus, unusable for PNP’s disaster operation efforts.
The late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo ordered the investigation into the alleged overpriced procurement of PRBs and OBMs that led to the eventual filing of a letter complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman.