Former Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima and five others entered a plea of not guilty to the graft charge filed against them in connection with the allegedly anomalous courier deal entered into by the PNP with Werfast Documentation Agency Inc. (Werfast) in 2011.
Earlier, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division found sufficient grounds to proceed to trial.
“Not guilty, Your Honor,” Purisima said after the charge was read to the respondents during their arraignment on Monday.
The five others who pleaded not guilty were former PNP officials Gil Meneses, Allan Parreño, Melchor Reyes, Ford Tuazon and Napoleon Estilles.
The court set dates for preliminary conference (where the parties will mark documentary evidence that they intend to present) starting on July 26 and scheduled the pre-trial of the case on October 13.
Eleven other respondents were not arraigned because of their pending motions, including former PNP officials Raul Petrasanta, Eduardo Acierto, Lenbell Fabia, Sonia Calixto, Nelson Bautista and Ricardo Zapata Jr.
Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Lorna Perena and Juliana Pasia — who were identified in the charge sheet as Werfast incorporators — were also not arraigned.
In filing the case last May, the Office of the Ombudsman alleged that the respondents gave Werfast unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference.
The respondents allegedly entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the firm for courier services for firearms license applications, approved and implemented as mandatory the delivery by courier of firearms license cards and granted Werfast accreditation as the PNP’s courier service provider for all such applications despite the firm’s supposed failure to comply with government regulations on courier services.
Such regulations include prior registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, authority from the Department of Transportation and Communications to operate a delivery service and accreditation by the Department of Science and Technology.
The PNP terminated the deal in 2014.
According to the prosecution, they will need 10 trial days to present their case.