CA refuses to stop sacking of top police official
The hope of Philippine National Police Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta to become the next PNP chief dimmed after the Court of Appeals (CA) junked his appeal on the Ombudsman ruling dismissing him from the service for his alleged involvement in an anomalous contract with a courier company.
The appellate court’s 6th Division, in a resolution, denied Petrasanta’s plea for a temporary restraining order because of an earlier Supreme Court ruling that the Ombudsman’s order of his dismissal was a penalty and should be immediately executory.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela. It was concurred in by Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas-Peralta and Jane Lantion.
At the same time, the CA ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to comment within 10 days why its ruling should be made final.
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th said with the CA’s ruling, Petrasanta will no longer be included in the list of candidates for the top PNP post.
The police official, a former Central Luzon police chief, has been a “PNP chief-in-waiting.” Trillanes said the CA ruling means that the order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Petrasanta and several other police officials will be implemented.
Also ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman were former Firearms and Explosives Office officials Senior Supt. Allan Parreño, Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes, Supt. Lenbell Fabia, Chief Insp. Sonia Calixto, Chief Insp. Nelson Bautista, Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata Jr. and Senior Insp. Ford Tuazon.
They were indicted for their approval of Werfast Documentary Agency as the courier delivery firm for renewal of firearms licenses.
The Ombudsman found the deal with Werfast anomalous because it was approved without going through the procurement, accreditation and qualification processes.
Also, the Ombudsman said Werfast was not a registered corporation at the time of the signing of the memorandum in May 2011 and was incorporated only in August 2011 “with a measly capitalization of duty of P65,000.”
Petrasanta questioned his dismissal in a 41-page petition for certiorari filed on July 2. He accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales of committing a “serious and reversible error” when she assumed Petrasanta erred in accrediting Werfast Documentary Agency despite the company’s failure to meet the criteria set for a courier service provider.
Petrasanta claimed it was former PNP chief Alan Purisima who accommodated Werfast as the police force’s service provider.
It was Purisima who signed the Memorandum of Agreement dated February 12, 2013 issued by Civil Security Group (CSG) Director Gil Meneses to Werfast, Petrasanta argued.
In February this year, another CA division junked a petition filed by Petrasanta assailing an order of the Office of the Ombudsman preventively suspending him along with several others in connection with 1,004 high-powered AK47 firearms that went missing, having allegedly been old to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Trillanes said Petrasanta’s case is more serious than that of Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, who was recently named the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) despite facing criminal and administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The senator said Petrasanta, unlike Iriberri, has already been dismissed from the service. He added that the cases filed against Iriberri were not critical enough to discredit him.
A supplier, Joavi Philippines Corp., lodged a complained before the Ombudsman claiming that Iriberri failed to issue documents for three procurement projects worth P97.7 million.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Escudero urged President Benigno Aquino 3rd to appoint a new police chief before the retirement of Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina on July 16.
“The role of the PNP in the electoral process is absolutely crucial in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the elections.
We have to make sure that all police offices in the country have their own permanent chiefs,” Escudero said.
As of now, 38 “third-level positions” in the police, including two regional directors, are of acting capacity status, the senator added.
Other OIC positions that need filling include those for 26 provincial directors, eight chiefs of city police offices, and two chiefs of city police stations.