Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus A. Verzosa and five others were found guilty of graft by the Sandiganbayan and sentenced to a prison term ranging from six to eight years each in the irregular purchase of rubber boats and outboard motors for P131.5 million in 2009.
Also convicted were former PNP Deputy Director General Benjamin A. Belarmino Jr.; Deputy Director General and bids and awards committee (BAC) head Jefferson P. Soriano, who is also currently the mayor of Tuguegarao City; Director and BAC vice-chairman Luizo C. Ticman; Director and BAC member Romeo C. Hilomen; and Chief Superintendent and BAC member Villamor A. Bumanglag.
Former Director Ronald D. Roderos was acquitted of the same graft charge for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The case against former Chief Superintendent Herold G. Ubalde was ordered dismissed on account of his death.
The court’s 88-page decision was promulgated on Friday, June 25. It was written by Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez. Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno concurred.
The rubber boats and outboard motors were purchased from three different suppliers – EnviroAire, Inc., Geneve SA Philippines, and Bay Industrial Philippines Corp.
The rubber boats and outboard motors were to be used for rescue, relief, and rehabilitation of those who suffered the onslaught of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in Sept. and Oct. 2009, respectively.
Because of the urgent need for the equipment, the accused said they resorted to negotiated procurement with the suppliers and did away with the mandatory public bidding.
The accused purchased 24 units of Apex A-47 A1 rubber boats for P27,960,000 and 93 units of Mercury 60 HP outboard Motor for P44,175,000 from EnviroAire Inc.
They also purchased 41 units of Zodiac FC 470 rubber boats for P47,765,000 from Geneve SA Philippines and 10 units of Loadstar HKS 480 rubber boats for P11,650,000 from Bay Industrial Philippines Corp.
In its decision, the Sandiganbayan said the selected suppliers were incapable to supply the rubber boats and outboard motors as well as to comply with the delivery period.
In fact, the court found that the reason of the accused to resort to negotiated procurement was “unjustified.”
It was found that during the opening of the bids for the procurement of 75 units of rubber boats and outboard motors, EnviroAire was not the one which passed the eligibility check. Rather, it was the joint venture of EnviroAire and Stoneworks Specialist International, Inc. that passed the eligibility tests, it said.
In the case of Bay Industrial Philippines, the court found that it was in existence for less than a year and had a paid-up capital of less than P500,000 when it was awarded the supply contract for the rubber boats.
It also said that Geneve SA Philippines did not pass the eligibility requirements, and the Certificate of Existence dated Sept. 3, 2009 executed by its General Manager, Senen I. Arabaca, did not show that it had completed a contract for the supply and delivery of rubber boats and outboard motors.
“It must be underscored that, at the time the negotiated procurement was resorted to by the accused, the public bidding was already in its post-qualification stage,” the anti-graft court said.
Because of the separate procurement done by the accused, the court said there was “functional incompatibility” of the rubber boats and outboard motors.
“Clearly, the procured rubber boats and outboard motors were not compatible with each other and their stability and control were doubtful when operated, resulting in non-compliance with the speed requirement,” the court said.
“Consequently, the procured equipment were not used by the end-users for their intended purposes,” it added.