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Senate to summon Purisima on purchased police vehicles

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Senate to summon Purisima on purchased police vehicles
Poe, vice chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said she will also invite former budget secretary Florencio Abad to the probe into reported irregularities in the PNP’s procurement process.
Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will summon former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and other officials of the previous administration to its probe into the P1.89-billion purchase of Mahindra patrol vehicles and other procurement projects of the police, Sen. Grace Poe said.

Poe, vice chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said she will also invite former budget secretary Florencio Abad to the probe into reported irregularities in the PNP’s procurement process.

Poe earlier questioned the deal in 2014, saying the PNP’s terms of reference and specifications for the procurement of patrol vehicles appeared to favor the India-based company Mahindra.

“We will check if the supplier (Mahindra) deposited a ‘retention amount’ under Republic Act 9184 (procurement reform law) that should be part of the contract in case the government demands a refund,” Poe said over radio dzMM.

She said the terms of reference of the bidding effectively eliminated all the other more known brands with track record and countrywide presence as far as service centers are concerned from competing.

The inquiry was prompted by recent findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the failed delivery of some P1.347 billion worth of mobility and combat equipment and acquisition of the Mahindra vehicles.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito on Monday lamented the apparent misuse of billions in taxpayers’ money by former PNP officials.

He said with the government’s meager resources, the PNP and Armed Forces “should acquire vehicles and equipment that are durable and reliable.”

“We cannot afford to waste public funds on vehicles and equipment that are not reliable or we’re just throwing away money,” Ejercito said.

The COA earlier flagged the PNP’s purchase of over 2,000 units of Mahinda Enforcer and Scorpio vehicles from India in 2015, saying the agency’s officials made changes in the specifications for the acquisition that resulted in the selection of units with “frequent breakdowns, poor after sales services and limited availability of spare parts.”

The COA also earlier directed the PNP to demand the immediate delivery of mobility and combat assets, including grenade launchers and ponchos, worth P1.347 billion procured by the previous administration through state-owned Philippine International Trading Corp.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. admitted there were “obvious lapses” in the procurement of Mahindra Enforcer and Scorpio vehicles.

“There is obvious set of lapses in the procurement and again we have to emphasize that the procurement of Mahindra from the bidding process to the procurement was not done by the PNP BAC (Bids and Awards Committee) but by the procurement service of the DBM. So it is beyond us,” Durana said in a press briefing.?

He said Columbian Autocar Corp., the supplier of the vehicles, has already been blacklisted from entering into any transaction with the PNP.?“The only thing that we contributed is to set the specification based on the operation needs assessment conducted earlier,” Durana said.?

Durana said the DBM assumed the procurement process of the vehicles after PNP failed to do it on time. ?

“Definitely good or bad, we learned so many lessons from this case. Why were funds returned to the DBM because of the underspending of the previous administration? The hesitation of the previous PNP administration to get into the procurement of big projects because of the fear that cases may be filed against them,” he added.

?Durana said the contract has not been obligated and pushed back to the DBM.?

He also said the PNP will fully cooperate in any investigation.  – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

ALAN PURISIMA

PATROL CARS

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

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