P1.98-B gun deal awaits Bartolome signature

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 13 2012 08:29 AM | Updated as of Sep 13 2012 04:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) and a gun supplier signed last Sept. 10 a contract for the purchase of 59,904 units of 9mm Glock 17 Generation 4 at a cost of P1.98 billion.

PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome has 15 days from Sept. 10 to approve or disapprove the signed contract of the gun deal between the PNP and Trust Trade of the Philippines.

Bartolome, as head of the procuring entity, will have to approve or disapprove the contract for the firearm procurement endorsed to him by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and the technical working group (TWG), said Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, BAC chairman.

Sarmiento maintained the deal was aboveboard and that the PNP BAC strictly followed all the procedures in the procurement of the pistols, which hope to fill up 100 percent of the needed firearms for 148,000 policemen nationwide.

Sarmiento said they would check reports that a losing bidder on the gun procurement was behind the supposed media blitz and insinuations of anomalies in the pistol deal.

“The most we can do is to consider to subject them to suspension or blacklisting proceedings because they have been trying to influence the decision of the BAC. Along that line, our legal luminaries are checking the possibilities,” he said.

Sarmiento said all bidders should have exhausted all legal avenues to be able to boost their chances of getting the deal instead of resorting to media attacks.

Contrary to allegations, Sarmiento said Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon denied reports that 28,000 units of 9mm pistols imported by Trust Trade arrived in the country on Sept. 4, even before the contract was formally sealed.

"I have instructed the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to coordinate with the Customs and secure certification that no such importation arrived,” Sarmiento said.

Last Sept. 10, the PNP Procurement Division chief and Jocelyn Gutierrez-Jose, Trust Trade director, signed the notice of contract, which was forwarded to the office of the PNP chief.

Chief Superintendent Frank Uyami, chief of the PNP Legal Service, declared that losing bidders could not stop the implementation of the P1.98-billion gun deal.

“After the PNP chief signs the contract, the next step is contract implementation. Upon signing contract with Trust Trade, we are going to require the firm to file performance bond and guarantee that Trust Trade will comply with delivering 59,000-plus pistols,” Uyami said.

The TWG said the delivery period is 570 days, with the first tranche of 12,000 units to be delivered within 150 days; the second tranche within 120 days; the third tranche within 120 days, and the fourth and fifth tranches within 90 days.

Police officials said the PNP has savings of about P200 million from the P1.198-billion allocated budget, since procurement would only be P997,997,045.76. or P16,659.76 for each pistol.

The PNP, on the other hand, scrapped two batches of procurement for assault rifles worth P391 million last Aug. 31.

President Aquino said he himself had discovered the overprice in the purchase of assault rifles over Google, which prompted him to instruct Robredo to investigate the deal.

He noted the rifles sold below $1,000 each (less than P43,000) against the PNP’s purchase price of P80,000 a unit.

Sarmiento said the procurement of 1,800 assault rifles for about P213 million under the Capability Enhancement Program (CEP) for 2011 has been suspended after the only bidder – R. Espineli – failed to comply with documentary requirements.

R. Espineli’s bid was P89,000 per piece.

He added that the procurement of 1,500 basic assault rifles at P118,000 apiece under CEP 2012 has been suspended after receiving information that there were better assault rifles with lower cost.