Former PNP chief Verzosa, 5 others, guilty of anomalous purchase of several rubber boats

The Sandiganbayan found former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa and five others guilty of corruption in connection with the purchase of police rubber boats (PRBs) and outboard motors (OBMs) in 2009.

In the Third Division anti-graft court decision, Verzosa and other officers Benjamin Belarmino Jr., Jefferson Soriano, Luizo Ticman, Romeo Hilomen, and Villamor Bumanglag were sentenced to six to eight years in prison.

The court also ordered that the convicts could no longer hold government positions.

The purchases of 75 PBRs and 93 OBMs from EnviroAire Inc., Geneve SA Philippines, and Bay Industrial Philippines Corp. cost P131.5 million.

The rubber boats and outboard motors were to be used to rescue, relieve, and rehabilitate those who suffered the onslaught of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in Sept. and Oct. 2009, respectively.

But such suppliers allegedly did not pass the eligibility tests.

“It must be underscored that, at the time the negotiated procurement was resorted to by the accused, the public bidding was already in its post-qualification stage,” the anti-graft court said.

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Former chief Verzosa, 5 others, guilty of anomalous purchase of several rubber boats

“Clearly, the procured rubber boats and outboard motors were not compatible with each other and their stability and control were doubtful when operated, resulting in non-compliance with the speed requirement,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“Consequently, the procured equipment were not used by the end-users for their intended purposes,” it added.

“The accused NHQ-BAC officials recommended the award of the supply contract to co-accused Verzosa, who approved the same. Hence, all the accused are responsible for the functional incompatibility of the PRBs and OBMs delivered,” said Sandiganbayan.

“Verzosa should have noticed the weakness of the suppliers and functional incompatibility of the PRBs and OBMs. Instead, he kept silent. His actions show manifest partiality toward the ineligible suppliers,” the decision added.

Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez led the decision, which was seconded by Associate Justices Amparo Cabotaje-Ang and Ronald Moreno.

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