Firetrucks overpriced, DILG told

A PETITIONER who earlier asked the Supreme Court to nullify the government’s P2.8-billion contract to buy 76 firetrucks from an Austrian firm has urged the Interior Department to block what he described as a “brazen attempt” of some officials to approve the deal that was overpriced. 

That deal had prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to fire former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno.

In a letter to DILG officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy, Leo Romero, who is the counsel in a petition filed last year with the high court questioning the supply contract with Rosenbauer International AG, said officials of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Austrian company were trying to “countermand the legal position of the DILG and the official directive of the President” on the supply contract.

“Your office, which has administrative supervision and control over BFP, must act with immediate dispatch to prevent any and all acts intended to cause grave and irreparable loss, damage and injury to the paramount interest of the Republic of the Philippines and its people,” Romero told Cuy in his letter a copy of which was furnished the President.

President Rodrigo Duterte

The lawyer attached a copy of Bureau Order COM-2017-018 issued by BFP Director Bobby Baruelo on March 17, which created an Inspection and Acceptance Committee for the 76 units of Rosenbauer TLF 4000 firetrucks.

Romero expressed frustration that despite the position taken by no less than the President on the issue, some officials were still trying to pull a fast one to favor the questionable contract.

“Once the fire trucks are accepted, that will trigger the payment process for Rosenbauer,” he said.

“There is really a syndicate here that stands to gain once this anomalous contract pushes through. The President has taken action based on a whiff of corruption, but this one involves multiple whiffs of corruption. The President already knows their scheme, yet they are still trying to get away with graft and corruption.”

Romero said the BFP order was in response to a March 22 letter of Rosenbauer informing the arrival of 14 brand-new fire trucks at the Port of Batangas on April 18 for inspection and acceptance.

“Even prior to the receipt of the aforementioned March 22 letter, BFP Director Baruelo was quicker to the draw when he unlawfully and illegally issued Bureau Order No. COM-2017-018,” Romero said.

He informed Cuy of the pending petition before the Supreme Court assailing the validity of the supply contracts for the purchase of 76 Rosenbauer fire trucks.

On June 24, 2016, Romero, as lawyer for former  Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, filed a petition before the SC seeking to nullify the two supply contracts entered into by the DILG and Rosenbauer International AG for not only being anomalous and grossly disadvantageous to the government, but also for being unconstitutional.

Romero also wrote a separate letter to IAC chairman Supt. Jorge Fariñas and committee members Sr. Insp. Le Roy Enriquez, Insp. Ruel Geronimo, Geoffrey Agcambot, and FO3 Jonathan Alfonso urging them not to follow Baruelo’s order.

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , Catalino Cuy , Leo Romero , Firetrucks , DILG
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