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P1.2-billion pistol contract signed

THE National Police has signed a P1.2-billion contract for 59,904 Glock 17 Gen 4 9mm pistols. Gun dealer Trust Trade-Glock Asia bagged the contract.

This, as the National Police spokesman, Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr., did not answer telephone calls to answer allegations that Glock has banned the sale of its pistols in the Philippines owing to corruption in dealing with the police.

On Wednesday the National Police Directorate for Logistics said it had already signed the contract with the arms dealer and that the National Police chief, Director General Nicanor Bartolome, has 15 days to decide on the deal whether to pursue the deal.

The force announced this development a day after Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones of Agham claimed that a shipment of 28,000 of the said pistols already arrived at the Manila South Harbor.

But Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, chairman of the National Police’s Bids and Awards Committee and the current deputy chief for administration, denied Palmones’s claim.

“Some quarters are trying to derail these activities. We hope they won’t deprive the community of its right to have decently armed police officers and that they also won’t deprive officers the right to have firearms issued to them,” Sarmiento said.

He said there was nothing irregular in the project because it was done in a very transparent bidding process.

“It may be coming from the losing bidders kasi kapag tiningnan mo nakakalula na iyong figure, P1.2 billion, akala nila may kumikita. The BAC has been very objective, very transparent. There have been no under-the-table deals,” said Sarmiento, referring to the possible root of the controversy.

The project is seen to completely cover the shortage of short firearms in the National Police.

He said Trust Trade will deliver the first batch of the guns consisting of 12,000 units within 150 days of the issuance of the Notice to Proceed.

“There were questions as to why there were shipments that arrived. I understand [Customs] Commissioner [Ruffy] Biazon has issued a statement that there is no such thing. We checked it out also at the Firearms and Explosives Office. We checked it out. They have shipments for the year but not 28,000 pieces,” Sarmiento said, clarifying Palmones’s allegation.

Trust Trade got the Glock deal after the Espinelli Trading-Israel Weapons Industries was disqualified during the post-qualification process handled by the National Police-BAC Technical Working Group.

“They [Espinelli] did not comply with the requirement on the certification from the Insurance Commission for the bid security and violations on the appropriate receipt of authentication by the Philippine Embassy in Israel, where the company is based,” Cerbo then told reporters.

At least five suppliers participated in the June 28, 2012, bidding but one of them was disqualified and was not allowed to participate during the bidding for undisclosed reasons. The other two bidders were Kolonwell and Armscor.

Sarmiento said the bidding was one of the largest procurements of the National Police since the Capability Enhancement Program (CEP) was established. The BAC undertakes the procurement process and ensures compliance with the law particularly Republic Act 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.

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