Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lacson revealed 2009 P105 million probe helicopters sold to PNP

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, July 5, 2011-Senator Panfilo M. Lacson revealed that he has a copy of documents indicating that the Arroyos were the former owners of the helicopters which were forcibly sold and priced as brand-new to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for P105 million last 2009, saying that the sale of the choppers may make the Arroyos along with all those who took part in the sale prime candidates for a plunder case as the amount involved exceeded P50 million.

Lacson exposed that the initial findings would indicate that the previous and original owners of the pre-owned, yet sold as brand-new light police operational helicopters are the Arroyos. While it's bad enough that the two units were overpriced and therefore grossly disadvantageous to the government, passing them off as brand-new smacks of brazen deceit and utmost bad faith.

Lacson had initiated an investigation into alleged misrepresentations in the P105-million purchase of light operational helicopters by the Philippine National Police's elite Special Action Force (SAF); thus, the Senator together with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Teofisto Guingona III have filed Senate Resolution 518 to take a closer look at the acquisition of the Light Police Operational Helicopters (LPOHs) from Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (MAPTRA).

Lacson said that while the PNP officials involved in the deal were complicit partners, they are the least to blame in this anomalous transaction, saying that the first couple was so powerful at that time that ramming the used helicopters down the throat of the police was easy and effortless.

He said that since the proceeds could exceed the P50-million threshold in a series of acts, those liable are candidates for a plunder case under the country’s existing laws.

Earlier, the PNP Negotiation Committee recommended the award of the contract to MAPTRA for one Robinson R44 Raven II and two Robinson R44 Raven I helicopters last July 9, 2009.

But it was later learned that MAPTRA had been engaged in the business only in June 2009. Also, it was learned the supposedly new choppers were pre-owned as far back as March 2004. (Jason de Asis)


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