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Ex-partylist solons asks SC to scrap DILG fire truck deal

MANILA — Former Abakada Party-list Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz on Thursday asked Supreme Court to resolve his pending motion seeking to stop the P3 billion contract entered into by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the purchase of 152 fire trucks for the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP).
In a 10-page petition of urgent ex-parte second motion for most expeditious resolution of the application of temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, Dela Cruz through his lawyer Leo Romero asked the high court to "expeditiously resolved" the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and or preliminary injunction" and to stop the respondents - Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)- from effecting payment and disbursing public funds and implementing the two supply contracts for the supply and delivery of 76 units of TLF-4000 fire trucks from Austrian company Rosenbauer Internatioal AG with a contract price of 20,490,740 euros.
Dela Cruz had petitioned the tribunal in June 2016 to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the DILG and the BFP from purchasing the said fire trucks, saying the two contracts covering the deal were unconstitutional.
"If not restrained by this Honorable Court, these actuations of the respondents DILG and BFP together with the other respondents will indelibly cause grave and irreparable damage to the petitioner in particular as a member of the House of Representatives and as taxpayer and the public in general who will be prejudiced by the violation of the Constitution on the unlawful expenditure of public funds resulting in the loss and damage to the government and the Filipino people in the amount of billions of pesos,' Dela Cruz said.
"In order to preclude any and all further violations of the Constitution pending the resolution of the instant petition, the most expeditious issuance of a TRO and or writ of preliminary injunction is imperative to protect the paramount interest of the government and the Filipino people who will be greatly prejudiced by the patently unlawful and blatant acts of the culpable officers of the public respondents," he added.
Dela Cruz also asked the SC to enjoin the respondents from inspecting and accepting the fire trucks at the Port of Batangas which he said are due to arrive at that port last April 18 as well to prevent them from negotiating and entering into a third or another supply contract.
Dela Cruz said the respondents must be stop from securing another or additional loans for purposes of the BFP's Capability Building Program for Selected Priority Areas which dispensed with public bidding as required by Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Dela Cruz also said in his petition the controversy arising from the procurement deal, which the DILG and the BFP had entered into with Rosenbauer International AG, was the main reason why President Duterte sacked Ismael Sueno as Interior Secretary.
"President Duterte perceived and smelled a 'first whiff' of graft and corruption in the acts of former (Interior) Secretary Sueno, whom he unceremoniously dismissed," Dela Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Romero said that they raised the issue that a pending motion of the same nature was filed last Jan. 17, 2017.
He added that under Section 29 Section 2 of Article VI of the constitution, which holds that: "All cases involving constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc."
"Pero di namin malaman ilan ang nabayaran dahil ayaw ibigay ng DILG and BFP ng mga vouchers, receipt of payment, certificate of payment kasi tinatago nila, (But we can't find out how much has been paid already because the DILG and BFP refuse to give out vouchers, receipt of payment, certificate of payment because they are hiding them),"Romero told reporters after the filing in the SC.
"If not restrained by this Honorable Court, these actuations of the Respondents DILG and BFP together with the other respondents will indelibly cause grave and irreparable damage to the petitioner in particular as a member of House of Representatives and as taxpayers and the general public in general who will be prejudiced by violations of the Constitution on the unlawful expenditure of public funds resulting in the loss and damage to the government and the Filipino people in billions of pesos," Romero said in this petition.
Romero said he had already asked the DILG not to inspect nor accept the controversial fire trucks if it had arrived last April 18.
"Sumulat na ako sa DILG at sinabi ko mandated kayo na wag tanggapin yan. Yan ang mandate ni Presidente kaya tinanggal si Sueno. Ang sindikato sa loob napakalakas, pinipilit pa din nila (I have already wrote a letter to the DILG asking them not to inspect or accept the fire trucks if it had arrived. That's the mandate of the President, that's why Secretary Sueno was removed. The syndicate there (DILG) are so influential that they were still trying to pull a fast one)," Romero said.
He also told the DILG of the pending case before the SC as well as a previous legal opinion of the department itself that no payment should be made first since it is still the subject of a pending case.
He explained that once the fire trucks are accepted, that will trigger the payment process for Rosenbauer.
Romero also said that former DILG secretaries Sueno and Manuel 'Mar' A. Roxas may face possible graft and malversation charges.
"We are proceeding on that, We are just gathering some more documents which I have already initiated," Romero, told reporters that a case is being prepared against SueƱo.
"So that we can file appropriate criminal charges for plunder, malversation, graft and violation of the procurement law,"he added.
He clarified that documents in my possession point to his (Mr. Roxas') recommendation and approval of the first Supply Contract.
He added that former Justice Secretary and now detained Senator Leila M. De Lima may also face possible charges following a legal opinion backing the contract issued under her lead over the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Earlier, Epimaco Densing III, DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs, said that the payment of the fire truck deal in Vienna, Austria is under a 23-year loan.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the deal will push through.
"The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) firetruck deal will proceed. It is a perfected contract and there is no temporary restraining order (TRO) that prevents its implementation," Abella said. (PNA)
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Last Modified: 2017-Apr-22 02.18.58 UTC+0800