Tide of justice: Ex-PNP chief, 20 others sued over P131.5M boats | Inquirer News

Tide of justice: Ex-PNP chief, 20 others sued over P131.5M boats

/ 02:53 AM October 16, 2011

Here’s another graft case for Jesus Verzosa, former director general of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Verzosa and other top retired and active PNP officials are among the 21 persons who were charged with graft on Oct. 6 for the P131.5-million purchase of rubber boats and outboard motors that turned out to be incompatible. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) announced only Saturday that it had filed the case.


In its belated announcement, the CIDG said it had filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Verzosa, 15 other police officials, two PNP employees and three suppliers involved in the contract.

They were charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and falsification by a public officer.


The complaint stemmed from the negotiated procurement of 75 police rubber boats and 18 spare outboard motors intended for the use of the PNP Maritime Group in the aftermath of the destruction wrought by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

The purchase was made in February 2010. In July this year, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said the boats and outboard motors had never been used and were gathering dust in a garage in Parañaque City.

On Oct. 13, Verzosa and 18 others, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, were the subject of a graft complaint filed in connection with the PNP purchase of second-hand helicopters passed off as brand-new. The purchase was made in 2009.

Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Panfilo Lacson and Aquilino Pimentel III filed the complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Fit for paddling

The CIDG had been assigned to investigate the questionable purchase of the boats that was first made public by Robredo.

In a statement issued yesterday, Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said the CIDG found “defects and functional incompatibility” in the 75 Zodiac FC 470 Futura commando rubber boats that were delivered in 2009.


Pagdilao said defects were particularly noted in the 41 rubber boats delivered by supplier Geneve SA Philippines Inc., which could not be fitted with the 60-horsepower engines supplied by Enviro-Aire Inc.

“The police rubber boats can be utilized only with the use of paddles, thereby defeating the purpose of which they were programmed for internal security operations, which means that the boats should be fit for sea and inland water patrols,” Pagdilao said.

He said the PNP paid Geneve SA Philippines more than P45.2 million “for the defective rubber boats that the Maritime Group cannot use.”

Those named in the 73-page complaint were Verzosa, PNP Deputy Director General Benjamin Belarmino Jr., retired Deputy Director General Jefferson Soriano, retired Director Luizo C. Ticman, retired Director Romeo Hilomen, Director George Piano, Chief Supt. Herold Ubalde, Chief Supt. Luis Saligumba, Senior Supt. Job Nolan Antonio, Superintendents Edgar Pataan, Joel Garcia, Ermiliando Villafuerte, Roman Loreto and Henry Duque, Chief Insp. Ronald Lee, SPO3 Maria Linda Padojinog, and civilian employees Ruben Gonggona and Marife Dungca.

The suppliers—Harold Ong of Enviro-Aire Inc., Senen Arabaca of Geneve SA Philippines Inc. and Alex Tayao of Bay Industrial Philippines—were named as co-conspirators.

Prima facie evidence

Pagdilao said the CIDG found prima facie evidence that the respondents had violated the antigraft law.

He said the suppliers “conspired” with the police officials during the negotiation conference in dictating the pricing and the number of patrol boats and outboard motors, as well as accessories, that each supplier would deliver.

He also said it was apparently agreed upon at that conference that 24 patrol boats would be delivered by Enviro-Aire, 10 by Bay Industries Philippines, and 41 by Geneve SA Philippines.

In the same statement issued by the CIDG, Robredo noted that the entire process appeared to have been conducted in such a manner as to “avoid public bidding so that contracts can be awarded to the three favored suppliers.”

Robredo said in July that the rubber boats were not only “unusable” but also “most likely overpriced.” He said Verzosa and other persons involved in the deal “could be held liable.”

Through his lawyer, Verzosa said then that he had approved the purchase on the presumption of regularity but that he would welcome any inquiry into the matter.

On the secondhand helicopters, he said on Oct. 13, again through his lawyer, that he was innocent of the charge. DJ Yap

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