Purisima in hot water over Werfast deal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2014 06:28 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2014 11:48 PM

- Werfast bagged deal before incorporation, paid no taxes

- Werfast outsourced delivery to LBC

MANILA - Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima isn't just facing a lifestyle check over his assets, he is also the subject of an investigation for approving an allegedly irregular courier service contract with Werfast Documentary Agency in 2011.

In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the creation of a special panel to conduct preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication of two separate complaints filed against Purisima and other top PNP officials over the contract.

Purisima is facing charges of gross negligence/gross neglect of duty filed by the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (FFIB-MOLEO).

Charges of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty were also filed against Police Director Gil Meneses, former chief of the Civil Security Group (CSG), along with former officials of the Firearms Explosive Office (FEO), namely: P/CSupt. Raul Petrasanta, P/CSupt. Napoleon Estilles, P/SSupt. Allan Parreno, P/SSupt. Eduardo Acierto, P/SSupt. Melchor Reyes, P/Supt. Lenbell Fabia, P/CInsp. Sonia Calixto, P/CInsp. Nelson Bautista, P/CInsp. Ricardo Zapata and P/SInsp. Ford Tuazon.

Meneses, Petrasanta, Parreno, Acierto, Reyes, Fabia, Calixto, Bautista, Tuazon, Zapata, Estilles and Werfast representatives Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Ireno Bacolod, Lorna Perena, Juliana Pasia and Marilyn Chua face a separate criminal charge of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The FFIB-MOLEO complaint is also seeking the preventive suspension of the police officials pending administrative proceedings.

The Ombudsman said a fact-finding investigation of the case started after an anonymous complaint alleged that Purisima and other PNP officials got commissions from the mandatory delivery fees paid by gun owners in securing their gun licenses.

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 Meneses, approved the accreditation of Werfast before the company had undergone any accreditation from the FEO Accreditation Committee.

On February 12, 2013, Purisima approved the Memorandum issued by Meneses recommending the implementation of the delivery of approved firearms license cards to the accredited courier service provider.

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

On February 12, 2013, Purisima approved the Memorandum issued by Meneses recommending the implementation of the delivery of approved firearms license cards to the accredited courier service provider.

On April 1, 2013, the FEO thru Petrasanta, Parreno, Acierto, Reyes, Fabia, Calixto, Bautista, Tuazon and Zapata issued a Resolution accrediting Werfast.

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.

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

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.

Werfast lost its accreditation as the official courier for gun licenses last March.

PURISIMA DEFENDED WERFAST DEAL

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.

Petrasanta also called the attention of Werfast after he found out that the firm was merely using the service of another courier firm, LBC, to deliver the license cards.

ProGun Philippines President Ernesto Tabujara said Werfast would sometimes deliver the licenses 3 to 5 months after the application, which is way past the one-month period for normal deliveries.

He said the deliveries are done during working hours, when the gun owner is usually not at home. Werfast would then claim that the address of the gun owner is fictitious.

"Under normal procedure like FedEx or other courier services, when they deliver a package and the person is not there, they leave a message that we tried to deliver this package. You can claim it. Here in Werfast, they say it is a fictitious address, which is wrong," he said in the same interview.

He also said there are pictures proving that the gun licenses were delivered by LBC, not Werfast.

Meanwhile, the five-lawyer Ombudsman special panel will also hear the related Complaint-Affidavit separately filed by private citizen Glenn Gerard Ricafranca against Purisima, Estilles and Werfast officials for plunder, violation of Section 3(e) and (j) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Ricafranca also administratively charged Purisima and Estilles with grave abuse of authority and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.