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Deceased Philippine official opened probe into multimillion ammo project

Publication Date : 09-09-2012

 

The deal involves the procurement of ammunition for the Philippine National Police

 

Among the investigations being carried out by Philippine Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo before he died on August 18 was a 600-million-peso (US$14.41 million) deal involving the procurement of ammunition for the Philippine National Police.

The purchase would require a direct release of funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The proponent of the purchase was his undersecretary who oversaw the PNP, Rico E. Puno.

A source at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) told the Inquirer that the purchase came under a procurement system that was a redesigned version of the Combat, Clothing and Individual Equipment (CCIE) programme in the PNP that had long been scrapped because of abuse in the use of funds and fictitious purchases.

“No one has initiated any investigation into how this procurement process is done until Jesse Robredo became secretary of the DILG,” the source, who asked not to be named for obvious reasons, said.

The new process is called Priority Supply Equipment (PSE), which allows the purchase of large quantities of supplies like ammunition through an authorized unit within the PNP.

All firearms and ammunition purchases must pass through the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit, or PNP-FEU. Puno’s proposed acquisition was no exemption.

The source said Robredo launched an investigation to determine the ammunition inventory of the PNP and examine it against the actual needs of policemen.

The investigation began a few months before the August 18 plane crash in Masbate province that killed Robredo and two others.

“What Robredo wanted [was answers to] legitimate questions and the only problem with that investigation was that it was the first of its kind,” the source said.

“There was never a question about the use of this system involving the purchase of firearms and ammunition until Robredo came,” the source, speaking in Filipino, added.

The investigation centered on Puno’s office and certain PNP units, including the FEU, the source said,

Puno was aware of the investigation, the source said, adding that he had no idea how far it had gone and whether the President knew about it.

Malacañang confirmed on Friday that Robredo was investigating sensitive matters when he died, but did not explain what were being investigated or whether Puno was involved.

 

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