Puno 'did not influence' bids committee-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
MANILA -- An official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) insisted that there are no irregularities in the purchase of service weapons for the police force and former Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno had no hand in the procurement.
In a live interview on government-run People's Television Network on Thursday, Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, PNP deputy chief for administration, claimed that Puno had no authority or control over the bidding processes conducted by the BAC.
"Undersecretary Puno is not influencing the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC). The BAC has been doing its job very independently," Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento, who is also the BAC chairman, clarfied that Puno does sit during BAC proceedings but only as an overseer.
"He could give comments but it is still subject to the approval of the regular members of the bids and awards committee," Sarmiento added.
Puno has been in the hot seat after it was reported in the media that he tried to enter the condominium unit of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, a day after the esteemed official went missing in a plane crash. The late Cabinet official was conducting an investigation into the alleged anomalous procurement deals in the PNP, which allegedly involved Puno.
Puno and three others allegedly went to Israel with the head of R. Espineli, the winning bidder for the 1,500 pieces of M4 assault rifles, a day before the deal was awarded to the company.
However, the PNP declared a failure to bid since R. Espineli, the lone bidder, failed to submit the required documents.
Another bidding process was suspended when Pres. Benigno Aquino III himself discovered that there was an alleged overpricing in the purchase.
Police Senior Superintendent Edwin Roque, BAC member, said earlier this week that the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo also ordered to halt the process of the rifle deal due to the alleged overpricing.
"[Robredo] told us to suspend the procurement of the assault rifles because we need to review the price. [There is] an observation, particularly in the internet, that the unit price of similar assault rifles is $1,000 to $1,200," Roque said.
He added that the logistics office of the PNP is now conducting the review of the price.
Amid all the allegations, the BAC chair maintained that there are no wroingdoings in their proceedings.
"Rest assured that we are very transparent. We are honest in our dealings. We are very impartial and objective," Sarmiento said. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)