• VACC mulls charges against Camp Crame ‘White House’

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    AN anti-crime watchdog on Sunday said it is considering filing charges against the construction of a “White House” inside Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City.

    “That (the suit) is being hatched by our legal team,” Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chairman Dante Jimenez said in a statement.

    “We are looking at the possibility (of filing charges) kasi ang dami nang hindi magagandang nangyayari. Ang dami nang kakulangan ng PNP tapos makakarining pa tayo ng ganitong balita na gagastos ng ganito kalaki para sa White House [because many undesirable things are happening. The PNP already has many inadequacies yet we still hear news that they will spend a lot of money for the White House],” he said in a text message.

    The VACC has urged the PNP to disclose to the public the name of the contractor who reportedly constructed the cited structure, designated as the official residence of the PNP chief.

    They also called on Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to initiate an investigation on the matter.

    “Dapat imbestigahan lahat ni Secretary Roxas ‘yan [Secretary Roxas should investigate all of that], investigate the P25-million White House to show us that he’s really in control of [the]PNP,” Jimenez said.

    The PNP earlier claimed that the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines sponsored the construction of the said residence.

    Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor, police spokesperson, earlier stressed that the PNP did not spend a centavo for the construction of the PNP chief’s residence. He added that the structure cost P12 million, belying reports that P25 million was spent to build it.

    Jimenez, however, claimed that the Masons have denied funding the construction of the structure. He also surmised that a “favored” contractor built the residence.

    “Tignan natin baka kasi possible na galing sa budget ng PNP ‘yung ginamit sa renovation sa White House [Let us consider the possibility that the renovation of the White House was funded using PNP’s funds]. In the first place, are they (the PNP) allowed to receive a donation?” asked Jimenez.

    Meanwhile, a senior member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines who requested anonymity decried the dragging of the association’s name into the controversy.

    In a text message to The Manila Times, the senior mason said, “The chief PNP should answer the biggest mystery of the P25-million house donated by the masons.”

    He said members of the association are “angry [at the PNP]for using the organization’s name to escape public outrage over the issue.”

    “The brotherhood is not mandated to donate a luxury house. They are into socio-activities and extend help only to those who are in need,” he said.

    The senior mason also explained, “It (the construction) is a clear graft because officials cannot accept any gifts without a deed of [donation]and money can be issued directly to the assigned contractor only if stated in the deed of donation. Plus, [the]contractor should declare this (the proceeds from the project) as his income and subject to tax.”

    The PNP under Purisima’s leadership had been under fire for a number of “high profile” incidents which put into question his leadership.

    Among the intrigues and controversies were the Atimonan massacre, his order to stop support to the Officers’ Ladies Club, and the plunder charges filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous deal which the police entered into with a courier service.

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