The Court of Appeals (CA) has dropped the charges lodged against two police officials who were earlier dismissed from service along with former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and several others in connection with the anomalies that hounded the PNP’s courier service contracts with Werfast Documentary Agency Inc. (Werfast).
In a 12-page decision penned by Associate Justice Francisco Acosta and concurred in by Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Eduardo Peralta, Jr., the CA’s Fourth Division junked the charges against Police Supt. Nelson Bautista and Police Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata Jr. after finding that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the two conspired with other police officials in giving unwarranted benefits to Werfast.
In effect, the CA reversed and set aside the decision dated June 25, 2015 of the Office of the Ombudsman as regards the two police officials.
Bautista and Zapata were earlier dismissed along with Purisima, Police Director Gil Meneses and former officials of the PNP Firearms Explosive Office (FEO), namely Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Sr. Supt. Allan Parreno, Sr. Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Sr. Supt. Melchor Reyes, Supt. Lenbell Fabia, Chief Insp. Sonia Calixto, and Sr. Insp. Ford Tuazon.
They were found guilty of grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and gross negligence or gross neglect of duty, among others.
The case stemmed from two separate complaints filed against the said police officials over a courier service deal entered into by the PNP and Werfast where the former contracted the latter to deliver gun licenses to gun owners.
The complaints were filed by Glenn Gerard Ricafranca and the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (FFIB-MOLEO).
Ricafranca claimed that Werfast was already accredited even before it underwent the accredited process of the PNP’s FEO Accreditation Committee and despite allegedly failing to meet requirements for accreditation.
The complaints also alleged that because it had no logistical capability, Werfast had to engage the services of LBC. Werfast was able to collect P190 for deliveries within Metro Manila and P290 for those outside Metro Manila when other courier services only charge P90 within Metro Manila.
Bautista and Zapata, on the other hand, claimed that they did not conspire with the other PNP officials who were charged.
In its March 1 ruling, the CA held that the Ombudsman erred in arriving at the conclusion that “the petitioners (Bautista and Zapata) conspired with their colleagues in giving unwarranted benefit in favor of Werfast because they issued the resolution accrediting the latter.”