The previous government were as corrupt as any other Filipino administration has been. This Police Helicopter matter is either a case of someone pocketing the change or incompetence. My money is on the former, not the latter. These men are not idiots. They have all graduated from the Philippine Military Academy or the Police equivalent, they are educated and intelligent professionals. Someone, or more likely a bunch of someones was getting a nice little earner for paying full whack for whacked out whirly birds! Note the buck passing and wriggling going on. No doubt someone down the food chain and most likely a person who never took a centavo will cop some flak over this while the big name keep their snouts in the trough.
Lawmakers baffled over purchase of ‘second hand helicopters’
Thursday, July 28, 2011
SENATORS were baffled Thursday by a decision by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to buy second hand helicopters at brand-new prices.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said he could not comprehend why the PNP paid full price “when two of these choppers are actually more than five years old, flying for hundreds of hours already.”
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Police Director Luizo Ticman, chairman of the bids and negotiations committees in the purchase of “brand new” used helicopters in 2009, told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday that he did not study the project proposal.
He said he relied on recommendations from Police Director Leocadio Santiago, then commander of the PNP SAF, who received the helicopters. He said he also relied on the PNP inspection team that was in charged to check the units.
He said, however, that nobody influenced the negotiations committee to favor the deal with Manila Aerospace Parts and Services Corp (Maptra).
It was found that Maptra indicated on its bid documents that two of the helicopters were “service center condition” and not brand new.
Police Superintendent Claudio Gaspar Jr., from the PNP inspection team, confirmed that the helicopters were second hand.
He said he had flown the helicopters before, as early as 2004, when he was detailed to the Office of the President.
Among his passengers were members of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s family, he said.
He said, however, that he did not tell higher ups that the helicopters were not new because he was not asked. He said he wasn’t told that they were supposed to be factory-fresh units.
“I thought they knew,” he told senators.
It was also found that the Inspection and Acceptance Committee, to which the inspection team reported to, was not at the actual inspection of the helicopters.
Of four members who signed approval of the deal, only Police Senior Superintendent Edgar Pataan was present. He said he was not a pilot and could not tell if the units were new.
In any case, he said, there were no instructions to find out if the helicopters were brand new.
“If it was flying in 2004 and was sold in 2009, obviously, that’s second hand. I don’t think you need technical competence for this,” he said.
Ticman said bidding on the proposed purchase of three light operational helicopters failed so the project was referred to the negotiations committee. The only other bidder, Beeline, asked a higher price for three Enstrom helicopters, he said.
Senator Sergio Osmena III, who was also at the hearing, said Beeline’s
bid was just P2,000 higher for three brand new helicopters.
The PNP said Beeline’s offer did not conform to contract requirements because it did not have air-conditioning. It was found later that the Robinson Raven helicopters did not have air-conditioning either.
Police ‘fooled’ in chopper purchase
Police Chief Superintendent Herold Ubalde told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that “apparently, there was deceit” in the purchase.
The Philippine National Police earlier presented a sworn statement from Hilario De Vera, president of Maptra that the helicopters he was selling to the PNP were brand new. The document was submitted as a post-qualification requirement, Ubalde said.
Senator Franklin Drilon said the papers for the sale of the helicopters from Lion Air Inc. to Maptra clearly indicated the helicopters were second hand. He said delivering units of a different quality than promised was a “classic case of estafa (fraud).”
But lawyer Luis Rivera, at the hearing on behalf of Maptra, said the company “has no capacity to deceive the PNP.” He said Maptra would submit its records on the sale at the next hearing.
Police Director George Piano, former director for logistics, said they accepted the units on the presumption that they were brand new.
Drilon said after the hearing that Piano is “indispensable to this entire mess.”
“It was only because he accepted these helicopters as being consistent with the supply contract that payment was made,” he explained.
Guingona said the police officials should not close ranks or they may all be found liable for the anomalous purchase. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)