Ombudsman upholds ruling on "chopper" case

November 23, 2012 1:06 pm 

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, Nov. 22 — The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld its ruling dismissing from the service 14 Philippine National Police officials and personnel and suspending for six months six others for their alleged involvement in the controversial procurement of PNP helicopters.

In a 49-page order signed Nov. 19, 2012, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales denied for lack of merit the motions for reconsideration filed by PNP Dir. Leocadio Salva Cruz Santiago, Jr., Supt. Ermilando Villafuerte, Supt. Roman Loreto;

Chief Supts. Herold Ubalde and Luis Saligumba, Sr. Supt. Job Nolan Antonio, Dir. George Piano, Sr. Supts. Edgar Paatan and Mansue Lukban, Chief Insp. Maria Josefina Vidal Recometa;

Sr. Supt. Claudio Gaspar Jr., SPO3 Ma. Linda Padojinog, PO3 Avensuel Dy, and non-uniformed personnel Ruben Gongona, who were meted the penalty of dismissal from the service.

Morales also denied the MRs filed by Sr. Supt. Joel Crisostomo Garcia, SPO3 Jorge Gabiana, PO3 Dionisio Jimenez, NUPs Erwin Chavarria, Emilia Aliling, and Erwin Paul Maranan who were meted the penalty of suspension from the service for six months without pay.

The order said "the respondents failed to present new evidence which will materially affect the Resolution in question.

They likewise failed to show that grave errors of facts or laws or serious irregularities have been committed by this Office prejudicial to their interest."

It reiterated its findings in the joint resolution dated May 30, 2012 that the said PNP officers participated in the whole procurement process, which makes it impossible for private supplier Hilario B. de Vera or MAPTRA Sole Proprietorship to be able to deceive them without their cooperation.

The case stemmed from the PNP's purchase from MAPTRA of one fully-equipped Robinson R44 Raven II Light Police Operational Helicopter for P42,312,913.10 and two standard Robinson R44 Raven I LPOHs for P62,672,086.90, or for a total amount of P104,985,000 from 2009 to 2010.

Among other things, the special investigating panel found the following:

— MAPTRA did not possess the technical and financial eligibility required by law;

— MAPTRA delivered only one brand new Robinson Raven II LPOH while the two delivered Robinson Raven I LPOHs were actually pre-owned by the former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, and/or non-compliant with the set requirements such as endurance/ventilating system and valid/existing engine warranties, causing undue injury to the government in the amount of at least P34,632,187.50 representing the overpriced figure;

— PNP entered into the helicopter supply contract with MAPTRA even before the completion of the post-qualification process; and

— MAPTRA was just a marketing arm and not the authorized dealer of brand new R44 Raven 1 units.

Aside from the administrative sanctions, criminal cases were also filed against the respondents before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. (PNA)

HBC/PTR

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