MANILA, Philippines – The Ombudsman committed a “serious and reversible error.”
In a 41-page petition, Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta asked the Court of Appeals to stop the implementation of an Ombudsman order dismissing him from service for his alleged involvement in an anomalous contract.
Until his dismissal last June 30, Petrasanta was a frontrunner for the position of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, which was vacated by sacked chief Alan Purisima.
Incidentally, the two generals are linked to the same Ombudsman case: the accusation that they violated the anti-graft practices law when they approved a dubious deal with a courier company.
The two are also closely associated with President Benigno Aquino III; both served as aides of Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.
Through lawyer Alex Avisado Jr, Petrasanta said that when he approved the accreditation of courier company Werfast, it was based on documents showing it was qualified to provide the required courier service.
Aside from submitting documents like business permits, proof of tax payments, certificate of registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company also sent proof that it has paid all its income taxes and documents showing its “extensive network all over the Philippines.”
In his petition, Petrasanta said it was Purisima who had wanted to accommodate Werfast as the sole courier service provider for firearms licenses issued by the PNP.
The Memorandum of Agreement dated Feb. 12, 2013, which ordered that all deliveries of firearms licenses by Werfast should be mandatory was issued by Civil Security Group (CSG) Director Gil Meneses and signed by Purisima, the petition said.
But Avisado said it was Petrasanta, who was then chief of the Firearms Explosives and Ordinance (FEO) Unit, who issued a resolution stating that the delivery of firearms licenses should be merely an added service – not mandatory – for the convenience of the applicants.
“Instead of heeding to the mounting pressures from the PNP Chief, Petitioner [Petrasanta] chose to disregard him and follow the legal opinion of the Director of Legal Service dated 30 June 2011 which states that ‘courier service proposed by WERFAST must only be optional.’ Public Respondent Honorable Ombudsman surely cannot close her eyes on this glaring fact,” the petition stated.
“If only Public Respondent Honorable Ombudsman had taken a closer look at these facts, she could have easily concluded that all the actions of Petitioner in accrediting WERFAST were in fact in accordance with law,” the petition further stated.
Petrasanta was supposed to return to work on July 5, six months after his suspension.
Various sources said one of the reasons President Aquino has been delaying his appointment of a new PNP chief was that he was waiting for the suspension of Petrasanta to end. (READ: Who will Aquino pick as PNP chief?)
In a previous statement, Petrasanta blamed politics and a “power bloc” in Malacañang for his dismissal. – Rappler.com