MANILA, Philippines - Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on Tuesday said he has ordered an investigation on the alleged shipment of 28,000 Glock pistols to a local supplier last week prior to the Philippine National Police's contract signing for a P1-billion firearms deal.
Biazon said he will check records of all gun importations to the country from January 2012 to the present. He said he will also investigate if Trust Trade and partner Glock Asia Pacific Ltd. received a shipment of firearms.
"We will check the history of Trust Trade if they have shipments that came in. We will also check the statement of Glock if they are indeed covered by a ban (to ship firearms to other countries)," he told radio dzMM.
Biazon said he is also checking reports that firearms suppliers can get import permits from the end-user, in this case the Philippine National Police, and then cancel the permit once the shipment arrives. He said the imported firearms are then sold to the black market or civilian market.
He said he issued a memo yesterday that gun importations must have clearance from his office before they are released.
AGHAM party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones is questioning how Trust Trade and partner Glock Asia Pacific Ltd. were able to ship to Manila from the United States 28,000 pistols on September 4 when they were only awarded with the contract last August 31.
The contract was awarded on the same day that the Palace announced the reassignment of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Rico Puno.
"Hindi pa naa-award yung contract, the process of bidding is being undertaken, eh dumarating na, sini-ship na parating ng Pilipinas… Para bang lumalabas doon sa assessment natin is that siguradong-sigurado na sila (Trust Trade) na ang mananalo," Palmones told dzMM.
Trust Trade, the second lowest bidder, offered to supply 9mm Glock 17-Generation 4 guns at P16,659.76 each or a total of P997,997,045.76 to the Philippine National Police.
The lowest bidder, a joint venture between Israeli Military Industries (IMI) and trader Reynaldo Espineli, initially won the open bidding with the lowest offer of P16,254 for each gun or a total of P973,679,616 for 59,904 pieces of 9mm.
Palmones said the allegedly anomalous deal was brought to the attention of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash last August 18.
He also cited intelligence reports that Glock Ges, m.b.h. of Austria stopped exporting guns to the Philippines due to corruption in the PNP. He said the US State Department and the government of Austria are investigating the shipment of Glock pistols to the Philippines.
“The Austrian government said Trust Trade has routinely falsified police certificates as the basis for importing large numbers of Glock handguns, which it then diverts to the private market. It said the certificates appear authentic as these were obtained via collusion from police officials, but in the end, the PNP would simply say they did not want the Glock and these would then be sold to the black market with Trust Trade simply removing the serial numbers assigned to the PNP,” Palmones said in a report on Manila Standard Today. With a report from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com; and radio dzMM