Purisima’s graft pre-trial in courier deal case reset
The Sandiganbayan has reset the pre-trial of dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima for graft in connection with an allegedly anomalous gun courier deal.
Purisima attended his scheduled pre-trial at the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division on Tuesday but the pre-trial was cancelled and reset to April 18 after the panels requested additional time for marking documents.
During the pre-trial proper, both the prosecution and defense panels meet to mark their exhibits of evidence and prepare the list of witnesses in preparation for the trial proper.
Purisima, a friend of former President Benigno Aquino III, and 16 others were charged with one count of graft for acting allegedly with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence when they awarded the courier contract to the firm Werfast Documentary Agency, Inc.
The prosecution said Purisima violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when he gave unwarranted benefit to Werfast.
Purisima entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Werfast and accredited the firm as the PNP’s courier service provider for all the firearms license applications despite its failure to comply with government regulations on courier services.
Purisima and the respondents also approved the delivery by courier of firearms license as a mandatory policy in the PNP.
The prosecution said Werfast failed to seek prior registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission and failed to get authority from the Department of Transportation and Communications to operate a delivery service as well as an accreditation from the Department of Science and Technology.
Earlier, the Ombudsman dismissed Purisima and the others for the administrative offense of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave abuse of authority. The officials were forfeited their retirement benefits and barred from being reemployed in government.
In ordering the graft charges, the Ombudsman said Purisima entered into a courier service contract with Werfast although the latter had no corporate existence and juridical personality when the PNP entered into a MOA in May 2011.
The Ombudsman found that no public bidding was conducted and that the MOA was entered into although Werfast lacked the track record as a courier service company.
Besides the Werfast case, the Ombudsman also ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of powers charges against Purisima and sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas for violating the police chain of command in the botched January 2015 anti-terror raid “Oplan Exodus” that resulted in the deaths of 44 elite cops in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. CDG/rga
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