Roxas 'welcomes' probe into PNP patrol jeeps

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II on Wednesday, April 29, said he “welcomes” any probe into the purchase of patrol vehicles for the Philippine National Police (PNP), following allegations of irregularities in the bidding process.

“We welcome it. This is a really straightforward bid. And we welcome it absolutely,” Roxas told reporters during the blessing of 210 4x4 PNP patrol jeeps at Camp Crame.

The vehicles lawmakers want probed are not the ones at Camp Crame that day, but vehicles purchased from India-based Mahindra Co, which secured a P1.317 billion deal to supply the PNP with 1,470 units of 4x2 patrol cars.

The 4x4 patrol jeeps, bought from JV AutoCirculo Corporation and KIA Motors Las Piñas, is a P397.95 million deal. Each of the Kia patrol jeeps were bought for P1.895 million.

Asked if Kia and Mahindra were exclusive suppliers to the PNP, Roxas clarified only companies who win public bids are granted contracts.

The Kia patrol jeeps will be distributed to regional public safety battalions, provincial public safety companies, city public safety companies, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) public safety company, the Special Action Force, the Maritime Group, and the NCRPO’s Special Weapons and Tactics.

The Mahindra jeeps, meanwhile, will be distributed by May 1 or “shortly thereafter.”

Part of ‘Daang Matuwid’

Thumbing down accusations of irregularities in the procurement of PNP vehicles, Roxas said the purchase of equipment was “part of ‘Daang Matuwid’ (straight path).”

Katas ito ng ‘Daang Matuwid’ na kung saan ay tamang pag-collect sa ating mga buwis at tama rin ang paggastos nito sa mga talagang pangangailangan ng mga ahensiya (These are the fruits of ‘Daang Matuwid,’ wherein we collect taxes properly and spend it properly – to buy what our agencies need the most)."

Roxas, who is also chairman of the National Police Commission, praised the PNP for conducting biddings “free from controversies and issues” and for their intensified anti-criminality campaign.

With the purchase of the Kia patrol jeeps, for instance, the PNP saved P78 million. The government allocated P476 million for the purchase of the 4x4 vehicles but only spent P397 million for the winning bidder.

The Interior Chief said the PNP also plans to purchase over 30,000 battle rifles and some 18,000 pistols.

Lahat ito nangyayari na wala tayong idinagdag na kahit anong buwis liban sa pag-adjust sa beer, tobacco, at alcohol na nagpapakita na kung maayos ang pagpapatrabaho, pag-govern, governance ng pamahalaan ay maraming kabutihan ang nangyayari at lalong napapa-igting ‘yung pagbibigay serbisyo sa mga kababayan natin,” he said.

(This all happened without us having to raise taxes, except for those on beer, tobacco, and alcohol. This shows that through hard work and good governance, a lot of good things can and will happen. And we’re intensifying the delivery of services to our countrymen.)

No 2016 talk

The Interior Secretary, who is president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party, also dodged questions from reporters about his plans for the 2016 elections. Roxas is presumed to be the party’s standard bearer for the elections.

Although Roxas has been vague and evasive when asked about his 2016 plans, allies in the Liberal Party have been vocal about it.

Ang partido namin ay magkakaroon ng kandidato. Lahat kami na kabahagi, mga sundalo sa ‘Daang Matuwid,’ ay naniniwala na dapat magpatuloy ito (The party will have a candidate. We who are all part, soldiers, of the straight path, we believe it needs to be continued)," said Roxas.

So, sa kahit anong paraan, lahat din naman tayo ay magko-cooperate para magpatuloy itong ‘Daang Matuwid’ na ito (In any way possible, we are all cooperating to make sure the straight path continues),” Roxas added, without going into specifics.

Roxas had earlier thumbed down Vice President Jejomar Binay’s “offer” for  him to be run as his vice president in 2016. Binay, thus far, is the only candidate who has announced concrete plans to gun for the presidency in 2016. –