CA reinstates 2 PNP officials linked in P100M courier deal for firearms licenses delivery

Published June 7, 2018, 3:33 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Rey Panaligan

The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the reinstatement of two ranking Philippine National Police (PNP) officials who were dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged involvement in the P100-million courier service contract for the delivery of firearms licenses.

Court of Appeals
(Credits: KJ Rosales | Manila Bulletin file photo)

In a decision written by Associate Justice Pablito Perez, ordered reinstated by the CA were Supt. Lenbell Favia, former assistant chief of the firearms Licensing division – firearms and explosives office (FLD-FEO) and Chief Insp. Sonia Calixto, former chief of permits and other licenses (POL) section of FLD.

Favia and Calixto were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman on June 25, 2015 for alleged grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in connection with the courier service contract with Werfast Documentation Agency, Inc. (Werfast).

The Ombudsman’s dismissal order also covered former PNP chief Alan Purisima, former Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, and former FEO officials Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Senior Supt. Allan Parreño, Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes, Chief Insp. Nelson Bautista, Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata Jr., Senior Insp. Ford Tuazon.

Aside from dismissal from the service, the Ombudsman also ordered the forfeiture of their retirement benefits and barred them from reemployment in the government.

Earlier, the CA had affirmed the dismissal of Purisima while clearing and ordering the reinstatement of Petrasanta, Bautista, Zapata, Acierto and Parreño.

Purisima and the other police officials were charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for entering into a contract with Werfast in 2011 for the delivery of firearms licenses even without accreditation.

Ombudsman investigation unearthed that Werfast was incorporated only after the execution of the agreement with the PNP and had a capitalization of only P65,000 for a contract involving P100 million.

In the case of Fabia and Calixto, the CA ruled that there was no conspiracy on their part and those who had been cleared in the Werfast contract to dupe the government.

The CA agreed with Favia and Calixto that their only participation in the Werfast contract was their designation as members of the FEO’s Courier Services Accreditation Board (CSAB).

Fabia and Calixto told the CA that the PNP’s transactions with Werfast started before they became members of the FEO-CSAB and that their accreditation of the courier service was in compliance with the existing policy.

“From the foregoing, it is evident that there is no substantial evidence to warrant the Ombudsman’s findings that petitioners Fabia and Calixto, as members of the FEO-CSAB, participated or gained in the alleged conspiracy that based on the records was perpetrated at the highest levels of the police hierarchy,” the CA said.

It noted that the FEO-CSAB merely issued an interim accreditation to Werfast valid for only for one year and subject to review or revocation, instead of five-year validity of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Estilles and Werfast.