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MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will conduct an investigation into the procurement of close to 60,000 units of 9mm pistols by the Philippine National Police (PNP), supposedly without proper bidding.
Cebu Representative Pablo John Garcia, chairman of the public order and safety panel, said the investigation will be scheduled to start in the next two weeks.
The probe was prompted by a resolution filed by Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones and Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, to look into the controversial purchase of the arms for P1.2 billion.
"The bidding process of the above-cited procurement firearms, as of the recent report, has not been completed, and some bidders have not complied with the required eligibility documents...to qualify for the bid," the resolution said.
Despite this, the authors of the resolution said reports are circulating that there was now a winning bidder for the firearms, "inconsistent with the established bidding procedures of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9184."
PNP denies Palmones claim
The PNP denied the claim of Palmones, specifically the congressman's assertion that 28,000 units of Glock 9mm pistols were delivered on September 4, just days after a notice of award was released to Trust Trade and Glock Asia.
Trust Trade emerged as the winner in the procurement deal for 60,000 pistols worth P1.2 billion.
Palmones claimed that 28,000 pistols arrived at the Manila South Harbor last September 4. The congressman questioned how the bidder was able to produce an authority to import the guns.
The PNP confirmed that a notice of award was given to Trust Trade last August 31 but denied that 28,000 units have already arrived.
"Hindi ho totoo yun na hindi pa nagpipirmahan na-i-deliver na," Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, chief of the PNP's Bids and Awards Committee, said Monday. (It's not true that there was a delivery even before anything could be formalized.)
"As far as the PNP is concerned, (there was no such development). Bago tayo maglabas ng kung ano-ano dapat medyo verified naman kasi kawawa naman po yung organisasyon." (Before we come out with reports like that, we wish they would at least attempt to verify, otherwise, the police organization suffers.)
Sarmiento said it was highly improbable that Trust Trade would be able to import the said pistols when the PNP had yet to issue them an end-user certificate, nor a certification from the PNP that would had to be submitted to the US Congress.
"Kasi yung mga ganitong $1 million or more dapat dadaaan sa US congress," Sarmiento said. (Arms transactions of $1 million or more have to be coursed through the US Congress.)
The PNP is still processing the contract for signing. After this, there will be a notice to proceed that will be issued. The supplier will then have over 500 days to deliver the 60,000 units, which is expected to be carried out in tranches.