Lacson: Make sellers in PNP helicopter deal liable
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The resolution of the case regarding the controversial 2009 purchase of used helicopters by the Philippine National Police (PNP) should not end with the dismissal of the police officers involved, but by holding people who sold the helicopters accountable, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.

Lacson tweeted that he feels for the officers who are facing criminal charges in relation to the anomalous purchase of the two used helicopters in 2009.

“I worked and fought for the PNP’s budget to buy three choppers after I exposed their anomalous purchase of two pre-owned helicopters passed off as brand new,” Lacson said.

“While I feel for most of the PNP personnel facing criminal charges, I hope the one who sold those choppers gets the ax,” he added. 

In 2011, Lacson exposed the anomalous purchase of three helicopters by the PNP because two of them were previously used by former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Lacson said that the two Robinson R44 Raven I helicopters purchased by the PNP from the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (MAPTRA) were pre-owned by Arroyo as early as March 2004.

A third helicopter, a fully-equipped Robinson R44 Raven II LPOH was part of the purchase and was the only one of the three that was brand new.

 

He noted that MAPTRA started operations only in June 2009.

The PNP paid close to P105 million for the three helicopters it purchased from MAPTRA and according to the Office of the Ombudsman, which investigated the case, there was an overpayment of P34 million for the used choppers.

At the time he exposed the anomalous transaction, Lacson said the Arroyos could be held liable for plunder for the sale of the used helicopters.

“The First Couple were so powerful at that time that ramming the used helicopters down the throat of the police was easy and effortless. And since the proceeds could exceed the P50-million threshold in a series of acts, those liable are candidate for a plunder case under our existing laws,” he added.

All three helicopters were never used by the PNP since these were being used as evidence in the case.

In a decision handed down last November 2017, the Supreme Court affirmed the Ombudsman’s dismissal of 14 police officers in relation to the transaction.

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