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Useless PNP boats overpriced, overpowered

/ 03:14 AM July 13, 2011

On the water or up in the air, something stinks in the fleet of vehicles kept by the Philippine National Police.

At least 75 rubber boats bought by the PNP for P131.5 million shortly after the 2009 killer storm “Ondoy” have never been used because they ended up with the wrong type of engines.

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The boats—along with the 93 outboard motors that would supposedly power them—are gathering dust at a garage in Parañaque City, according to Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

“If there will be a repeat of Ondoy, we will have rubber boats that have to be paddled,” Robredo said, adding that the whole fleet was “most likely overpriced” apart from being “unusable.”

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He said the boats required 40-horsepower engines, but what the PNP got were 60-horsepower units. “The problem is, if you mount the 60-horsepower engine, the rubber boat will sink,” Robredo explained.

He made the disclosure on the heels of another investigation involving other PNP assets, mainly two used helicopters which were allegedly sold to the agency as brand new in 2009.

The official said he had ordered PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo to investigate the boat purchase which was made in February 2010.

He said then PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, members of the PNP National Headquarters bids and awards committee (BAC), and other persons involved in the deal “could be held liable for this irregular or anomalous transaction.”

Robredo said he had directed Bacalzo to also file charges in connection with two other questionable PNP acquisitions totaling P326.5 million.

He was referring to the two second-hand helicopters worth P105 million that were sold to the PNP as brand new, and another idle fleet of patrol boats worth P90 million that failed to meet the specifications set by the PNP Maritime Group.

Robredo also asked Bacalzo to try to recoup the amount paid to the suppliers in the anomalous deals.

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Verzosa denial

Through his lawyer, Benjamin de los Santos, Verzosa on Tuesday denied being aware that the three purchases made during his term were anomalous.

The former PNP chief said he approved them all on the presumption of regularity.

“He (Verzosa) welcomes any investigation on the allegations of Secretary Robredo. The systems and procedures are in place in the PNP bidding processes. Complete staff action is undertaken before it reaches (Verzosa) for approval and (he has) no knowledge or information of any irregularities or violation of the procurement law,” De los Santos said in a text message sent to reporters.

Robredo said “it doesn’t follow that he (Verzosa) is accountable for it, but I think he should explain because a big amount is involved and (there should be) accountability. The one who signed the voucher is the PNP chief.”

“I was informed that the members of BAC junked the Napolcom (National Police Commission) specifications, violated procurement laws, skipped the bidding process and justified the ‘negotiated/emergency’ procurement because of Ondoy,” he added.

The rubber boats contract was awarded to three suppliers—Enviro-Aire Inc., Geneve SA Phils. Inc. and Bay Industrial Philippines.

Geneve delivered 41 rubber boats worth P47.7 million; Enviro-Aire, in a joint venture with Stoneworks Specialists International Corp., delivered 24 units worth P27.9 million; while Bay Industrial delivered 10 units worth P11.6 million.

Enviro-Aire delivered 93 outboard motors worth P44.1 million.

Robredo noted that the boats from all three suppliers were similarly priced at P1.165 million each.

Recreational boats

Based on initial research, a 40-horsepower engine costs P248,000 while a 60-horsepower engine costs P360,000—but the motors bought by the PNP were priced at P475,000 each, the interior secretary said.

Robredo also said he had received reports that of the 75 boats, 24 units which were manufactured in South Korea and 10 units made in Costa Rica, were classified as “recreational boats.”

Robredo said the P1-million freight cost for the deployment of the rubber boats was also not included in the contract.

Citing records, Robredo said among the PNP officials who could be held liable for the helicopter deal were Verzosa; the then PNP acceptance-inspection committee chair, Chief Supt. George Piano; and the committee members, Senior Supt. Luis Saligumba, Senior Supt. Nolan Antonio and Supt. Edgar Paatan.

He said Piano and his team signed Resolution No. 2010-13 stating that the two helicopters had met Napolcom specifications.

Robredo also said his office had proof that the two helicopters were really second-hand units that had logged 500 flying hours but were sold by Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. to the PNP as brand new.

Also liable, he said, were PO3 Avensuel Dy as the property inspector, and Senior Supt. Mansue Lukban as the management division chief of the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership.

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TAGS: Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, overpriced rubber boats, Philippine National Police, PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, PNP Maritime Group, PNP National Headquarters bids and awards committee (BAC), Typhoon Ondoy
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