Petrasanta won’t enter plea in gun license deal case
The dismissed head of the Philippine National Police Firerams and Explosives Office (FEO), Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, has refused to enter a plea on the graft charge regarding the anomalous 2011 courier service deal with Werfast Documentation Agency, Inc.
During their scheduled arraignment by the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division on Thursday morning, three other ranking former police officials similarly refused to enter their pleas.
The other arraigned officials were former FEO Firearms and Licensing Division chief Eduardo Acierto, former FEO Inspection and Enforcement (I&E) Section chief Nelson Bautista, and former I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata, Jr.
Because of this, the court entered a not guilty plea for the four former police officials.
The principal accused, former PNP Director-General Alan Purisima, was already arraigned in June 20, when he pleaded not guilty. Likewise, Werfast incorporator Salud Bautista also pleaded not guilty during her arraignment on Sept. 7.
The graft case was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in May, stemming from the courier service contract the PNP entered with Werfast for the delivery of applicant’s firearms licenses.
The Ombudsman said the contract was awarded to Werfast without public bidding. A five-man investigating team formed in October 2014 also found that Werfast was not a duly accredited company by the PNP and was only incorporated after the agreement was signed.
A total of 16 respondents were charged with one count of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence.
It was this investigation that led to Purisima’s six-month preventive suspension in December 2014. Purisima was forced to resign in February 2015, after controversy erupted over the revelation that President Benigno Aquino III allowed him to participate in the ill-fated Mamasapano operation even while he was serving his suspension. Purisima was finally dismissed by the Ombudsman from public service in June 2015.
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