By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News – Source Link
The Sandiganbayan has ordered the issuance of arrest warrant against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and 10 other individuals for a graft case in connection the alleged anomalous courier service deal that the PNP entered into in 2011.
In a minute resolution promulgated on May 18, released to the media on Thursday, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division said that after evaluating of the information of the case, as well as the evidence submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman, it found probable cause to order the arrest of Purisima and his co-accused for the court to hold them on trial.
“After judicious scrutiny and evaluation of the [case] Information and resolution of the prosecutor, the evidence in support thereof and the records of the preliminary investigation attached thereto, the Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause and the for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against all the accused charged in the instant cases,” the court’s ruling read.
Aside from Purisima, ordered arrested were the following former police officials:
- Former Civil Service Security Group chief Gil Meneses
- Former Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief Napoleon Estilles
- Former FEO assistant chief Allan Parreño
- Former FEO Education and Enforcement Management Division chief Melchor Reyes
- Servicing Legal Officer Ford Tuazon
Also ordered arrested were five private individuals who were incorporators of the courier service company Werfast Documentary Agency, Inc., namely; Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Lorna Perena and Juliana Pasia.
The Ombudsman earlier recommended P30,000 bail bond for each accused in exchange for their provisional liberty.
In its resolution, the 6th Division said the respective motions for judicial determination of probable cause with prayer for the dismissal of the case, recently filed by Purisima and the other respondents are now rendered “moot and academic” as the court has made its own determination of probable cause even before the respondents filed their motions.
“The Court, has, in fact, independently determined for itself the existence of probable as to merit the arrest of the accused, acquire jurisdiction over their persons, and to proceed to trial,” the ruling read.
In his 34-page motion filed with the Sixth Division last week, Purisima maintained that the case filed against him lacked evidence and was done in haste to prosecute him and the other police officers.
“This case best exemplifies the classic obsession or passion of the Ombudsman, riding on slanted news reports concocted by paid spin doctors, to indict with undue haste public officials who have been subjected to trial by publicity,” Purisima’s motion read.
The court, however, said that the arguments raised by Purisima and the other respondents in their motions were “matters of defense that are best raised and threshed out during trial”.
There are 16 individuals named as Purisima’s co-accused in the case but six of them have earlier posted bail. Thus, the court said, there is no longer a need to order their arrest.
The court, instead, set their arraignment on June 20, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
Those who have already posted bail in exchange for their provisional liberty were the following:
- Former FEO chief Raul Petrasanta
- Former FEO Firearms and Licensing Division (FLD) chief Eduardo Acierto
- Former FEO FLD assistant chief Lenbel Fabia
- Former FEO, FLD section chief Sonia Calixto
- Former FEO Inspection and Enforcement (I&E) Section chief Nelson Bautista
- Former I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata Jr.
Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan on May 6, the graft case stemmed from the courier service contract that the PNP entered into with Werfast in 2011 for the delivery of firearms licenses of applicants.
Based on the information of the case, the contract was awarded to Werfast without holding a public bidding and despite the company’s supposed lack of track record and qualifications as a courier service firm.
The Ombudsman said Werfast was not yet registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when the contract was entered in May 2011. The Ombudsman said the company was also not authorized by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to offer courier delivery service. —NB/APG, GMA News
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