Sandigan resets Purisima's pre-trial for graft

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2017 12:42 PM

Former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima. File Photo

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday canceled the pre-trial of dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima for graft in connection with his involvement in an allegedly anomalous gun license delivery service contract in 2011.

The anti-graft court rescheduled the pre-trial to April 18, 2017 to give the prosecution and defendants more time to mark the documentary evidence.

The pre-trial brief contains a consolidated list of documentary exhibits and witnesses to be presented in the actual proceedings.

The case stemmed from the allegedly anomalous contract of PNP with Werfast Documentary Agency, giving the company an unwarranted benefit to set up an online system for firearms license application and delivery.

Purisima earlier ordered the closure of satellite offices of the Civil Security Group (CSG) tasked to process the licensing of firearms across the country.

Gun owners were then required to troop to the PNP's headquarters in Camp Crame for license renewal and other processes, while their license cards will be delivered by Werfast to their respective homes.

The Ombudsman said the PNP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Werfast for courier services in the delivery of firearms license cards. Werfast bagged the delivery contract in May 25, 2011 even before the company was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Documents showed the CSG, through former CSG chief Gil Meneses, approved the accreditation of Werfast before the company had undergone any accreditation from the FEO Accreditation Committee.

Ombudsman investigators said Werfast was incorporated after the execution of the MOA, with a capitalization of only P65,000 and despite having failed to meet the requirements for accreditation such as the submission of a clearance from the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.

Records from the Bureau of Internal Revenue also revealed that Werfast did not pay any taxes from 2011 to 2013.

The Department of Science and Technology - Postal Regulation Committee also said Werfast is not accredited to engage in courier services in the country.

The complaint further alleged that due to lack of track record and logistical capability, Werfast engaged the services of LBC to make the deliveries while charging higher fees from gun owners.

It said Werfast "collected P190.00 for deliveries within Metro Manila and P290 [for those] outside of Metro Manila," when "other courier services providers charge only P90.00 within Metro Manila."

FEO records showed 90,455 firearms license cards were issued for delivery from March 2013 to March 2014.

Moreover, there were also no records to show that Werfast established an online facility for applications for renewal of firearms license.

Purisima earlier defended the higher fees charged by Werfast, saying the company needed to earn money.

"Negosyo yan e. Kung ikaw ay nag ne-negosyo, kailangan kumita ka. Am I right? Ngayon, yung sinasabi ninyong diskarte nila, I do not know because I am not Werfast. Ang importante lang sa akin ay makarating yung lisensya sa bahay at sa tamang tao," Purisima said.