By Raïssa Robles
President Benigno Aquino III asked his close chum Rico Puno to resign after the President personally did a Google search and discovered that the Galil assault rifles
Puno the Department of Interior and Local Governments had helped arrange d to buy for the national police were overpriced. Puno is in charge of police affairs in the DILG.
[Note: I’ve placed these corrections to make the sentence more accurate.]
Aquino told Filipino reporters at the APEC conference in Vladivostok that the indicative bid price for the Galil firearms was around P80,000 per unit:
Nag-Google search ako ngayon, at doon ko nga nakitang ang daming below 1,000 dollars, apparently.
He said he had ordered the purchase stopped, pending investigation. He also indicated during the press conference that he expected a resignation letter from Puno as Undersecretary for police affairs of the Department of Interior and Local Governments “but I don’t have it.”
During the Validvostok press briefing, Aquino also indicated he is an intensive user of Google’s search engine. He explained why he surfed online regarding this particular arms deal:
Yung sa rifle hindi ako satisfied, ano. Nag-umpisa kasi ‘yon na napakaraming bidders para at least—I think the last time they told me about it was seven bidders were interested, they [not audible on tape] documents.
Yung actual bidding naging isa. ‘Yung presyo ‘pag nag-search sa internet napababa nila ‘yung… Parang may na-acquire previous to this ‘yung contract na in-execute before we step into office, P150,000. ‘Yung indicative price nila naging P119,000. Tapos parang ito yatang kino-consider nila is now what – 80,000 per unit.
Aquino said the DILG had originally said they wanted to buy M4 carbines (shortened versions of the M-16 assault rifle) but that somehow the order had changed to the Galil rifle:
Pero tumingin ako sa internet dahil noong nag-umpisa ito about two years ago, mga 2,000 dollars ’yung gusto nilang M4 e, so roughly tama yung presyo. Pero pag tumingin ka sa internet ngayon, you can get it for as little as 800 plus dollars, e. So 800 times 40 will give you 32, ‘di ba, and 32 and 80 are very far off. Tapos yung the rifle itself was not what they told me they wanted.
So tinanong ko sila, “Saan napunta lahat nung mga ibang interesado?”
Kasi even two years ago, there was allegedly an offer from a foreign country to set up a factory here to produce the rifle they wanted, and at the time that it was selling for 2,000 dollars, they were offering it for 40,000 pesos dahil dito ipro-produce.
So sabi ko, “Bakit ‘yung may nag-alok sa inyong 40, bakit itong 80 na lang ang natira diyan? Bakit nung hindi nag-meet doon sa gusto niyong model, bakit niyo pinatuloy pa?”
So ito ‘yung subject na… And I think instructed Secretary Robredo to look into it to—para lahat na. Saan ba ’yung competence nung mga miyembro nung [Glock?], saan ba ’yung technical group dito.
Parang I wanted to know exactly why—’yung parang simple question lang doon, “Bakit walang tumingin sa internet at nag-check lang.
He likened the firearms deal to ordering food:
In-order mo hamburger dumating hotdog. Bakit hindi ka nagrereklamo.
PNoy also said it was he who had instructed the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to stop the bidding and to investigate the bidding process of the firearms.
UPDATE as of 5:03 pm September 10, 2012
The presidential palace website has uploaded a portion of PNoy’s Vladivostok press conference regarding the firearms deal and Puno, complete with a video. The transcript below is still more complete.
Before I go on, I must confess that it was commenters on this website who had urged me to find out what I could on “Puno-gate.” The commenters on Cyber Plaza Miranda – the growing community of Filipinos congregating on this website – were very much worried and adamant and even angry at what was taking place.
And so I decided to drop an article I was writing on Senator Vicente Sotto III and concentrate on this as I realized that this could be the Aquino government’s most serious scandal yet. And one that could seriously dent its credibility if it failed to adequately explain what had happened.
I spent Sunday and this morning asking around.
As a journalist, I believe that facts always come first and any opinion must be based on facts.
Somehow, one of my sources heard my plea for ‘just the facts’ and shared with me a portion of PNoy’s actual press conference in Vladivostok dealing with Puno-gate.
For easier reading, I have taken the liberty to break up Pnoy’s answers into paragraphs.
Please note in particular his answers to Questions 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 16, 18, 26.
I have also highlighted in red those answers which I thought were particularly revealing of Pnoy’s attitude toward what had happened and toward his ka-barilan. Those enclosed in parenthesis are my own explanations.
I found Pnoy’s answer to Question 18 particularly revealing of how detailed his knowledge of firearms was.
Again, I’d like to thank the CPM (Cyber Plaza Miranda) for nagging me on this.
I hope the presidential palace will air the entire press conference.
cebu professional photography says
Hey there! I realize this is somewhat off-topic however I needed
to ask. Does building a well-established blog like yours require a
lot of work? I’m brand new to running a blog however I do write in my journal on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so
I can share my personal experience and thoughts online.
Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips
for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!
Does it need a lot of work?
You have to love what you’re doing.
PNP Chief N Bartolome approves P1.98-B pistol deal
Antonio Morales says
Lalayo pa sa pagbili ng baril..marami sa Danao niyan..tangkilikin ang sariling atin!
Marami rin sulpak sa Batangas. Tatlo piso.
The BAC is surely hiding something.
Martial Bonifacio says
Bakit nagagalit at nanggagalaiti si miriam sa mga cabinet members na hindi umattend sa senate inquiry samantalang hindi panaman sila na co-confirm ng commission of appointments as secretaries of their respective departments?
namely: Justice Sec. Leila de Lima, Environment Sec. Ramon Paje, Interior Sec. Mar Roxas
i mean double standard talaga ang senate. Kung pabor sa kanila or convenient they will call them as “secretary” pero pag hindi, they will just say “hindi pa sila na co-confirm ng CA”.
@Baycas comment #110
Hindi ko pa nalilimutan ang kaso ni Sotto :)
Though my attention is on the news regarding panatag shoal and senkaku island.
chit navarro says
Raissa’s article in SCMP – Sep. 12, 2012
“Benigno Aquino turns on ally over police guns deal
President aghast after finding weapons online at half the price, as scandal envelops trusted official previously criticised over bus shootings
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has revealed that he scrapped a 392-million peso (HK$72.9 million) police arms deal after he went online and found, at half the price, guns the force preferred to those ordered.
The growing scandal yesterday forced the resignation of Interior and Local Governments Undersecretary Rico Puno, a close ally of the president, with special responsibility for police, who has been linked to the deal. Puno had been heavily criticised over his handling of the botched rescue of Hong Kong hostages on a Manila bus in 2010.
The scrapping of the gun deal in June was only revealed late last week, when a government report linking Puno to a conflict of interest over the deal was leaked.
Aquino, a gun enthusiast, said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in Vladivostok on Saturday he was aghast to find that the winning bid for the National Police purchase of 3,300 weapons had priced an initial batch of Galil ACE rifles at 89,450 pesos apiece, or about US$2,150. “I used Google search and that’s how I found so many firearms were being sold below US$1,000,” he said.
The Galil was not even the preferred gun of the police, who had specified the M4 carbine.
The deal was scrapped on Aquino’s order on June 25.
According to a transcript of his comments, made on Saturday, Aquino said: “If you look on the internet, you can get [the M4] for as little as US$800 plus.”
On Saturday, Aquino said he had asked Puno, a family friend whom he appointed to be his “eyes and ears” on all police matters, to resign. Puno quit, saying that he had performed to the best of his abilities.
Senators have summoned Puno to a hearing on Friday to question him about the deal.
He will also be questioned over bizarre events that led to the aborted deal being revealed.
The first hint of scandal came last week when reports emerged that Puno, accompanied by several police, tried unsuccessfully to enter the home of the late local government secretary Jesse Robredo on August 19, the day after Robredo died in a plane crash.
ABS-CBN news then published a leaked report on the arms deal linking Puno to the anomalous purchase. The report had been delivered to Robredo two weeks before he died. Local media have suggested that Puno went to the apartment with police to search for the report.
The report was apparently commissioned by Robredo after Aquino had the gun deal scrapped. According to a copy of the report posted on the ABS-CBN website, Puno was involved in a possible conflict of interest, having flown to Israel where the Galil ACE is made, accompanied by the winning bidder. At the time, Puno was supposed to have been on vacation with his family, and not on official business.
At the Apec summit, Aquino told reporters that Puno had been widely blamed for the bloody end to the 2010 hostage taking, in which eight Hongkongers died. “He [Puno] was pilloried and I assumed full responsibility for that,” Aquino said.
An independent probe into the bus incident had recommended that Puno be charged with “gross negligence”. Aquino later absolved Puno of blame.
The president hinted on Saturday that he now regarded this as a mistake. “I should have … perhaps not trusted certain people,” he said. “And we’ve corrected that situation.”
From a commenter in INQ from CDQ Kafkaeque opinion.
I think nobody ever said that the late USec Puno was guilty. It’s only that many saw him as not innocent. Just like one who beats a criminal rap on a finding of reasonable doubt in the judge’s mind, an accused could nevertheless have done the act he was charged with. In the case of Mr. Puno, he could have really gone to the late Sec. Robredo’s apartment for no good purpose but under appearances that made it look official and regular because he was “instructed” by PNoy. Which is what exactly one in his position and who, if he had no good motives, would have done do to avoid suspicion.
But the grounds for suspicion are justified and far from trivial and not merely a “spin” as Mr. de Quiros would suggest. After all, there’s also nothing malicious that cannot be given an innocent spin. Only through a cross-questioning of Puno and PNoy himself can the probable truth be ascertained .
It all depends on what Mr. Puno has to say, for example:
+Questioner: Mr. Puno, you were instructed by PNoy to secure Sec. Robredo’s offices, right?
+Questioner: The instruction was not in writing, was it?
Puno: Yes, it wasn’t. It was verbal. It was given over the phone.
+Questioner: Was it you who called PNoy or PNoy who called you?
Puno: Hmm, let me recall. Ahh, yes I remember. I called him.
+Questioner: And it was you who broached the matter about securing Mr. Robredo’s offices
and papers, right?
Puno: Hmm, ahh, yes, that’s right.
+Questioner: You mean that after you told PNoy that Sec. Robredo’s offices and papers ought to be secured, PNoy agreed, and told you to go ahead, am I correct?
Puno; Yes, that’s correct.
+Questioner: Am I also correct if I say that PNoy agreed to your suggestion but he himself
did not give specific instructions as to time, place or how to go about securing Sec. Robredo’s offices and papers?
Puno: Yes, that’s correct. When he told me to go ahead, I believed that how it was to be done was up to me.
+Questioner: You and your companion police officers didn’t enter Sec. Robredo’s condo, did you?
Puno: Yes, we did not.
+Questioner: You knew you would be breaking the law if you did, right?
Puno: Yes, I thought about that.
+Questioner: That’s because you had no permission to enter it, the owner not having given any, right?
Puno: Yes, of course.
+Questioner: And by owner, your understanding at least at that time would be Mrs. Robredo, Sec. Robredo being absent, correct?
+Questioner: You did not contact Mrs. Robredo before going to the condo, did you?
Puno: Yes, I did not.
+Questioner: You could have, right?
+Questioner: So, why did you not do it?
Puno: I invoke my right against self-incrimination.
+Questioner: So, why did you go to Sec. Robredo’s condo at all?
Puno: I invoke my right against self-incrimination.
+Questioer: How did you intend to secure Sec. Robredo’s papers that were supposedly inside the condo?
Puno: I invoke my right against self-incrimination.
+Questioner: You can sing, Mr. Puno, right?
Puno: Yes, of course.
+Questioner: What’s your favorite song, if you don’t mind my asking?
Puno. From Russia With Love.
…from russia wi loveeee…I bite for youuuuuu…hahaha…
andrew lim says
Sa kagustuhang mag litson, nakalimutan nang taong bayan:
1. Si Arroyo hindi pa nagbabayad sa utang nya
2. Lalo na ang mga Marcos – 40 taon na ang martial law, namamayagpag pa rin
3. Ang mg obispo tuwang tuwa dahil mauubos ang panahon para sa RH ! Ligtas na naman sila sa responsibilidad! Ulitin na lang ang mga slogan at ipasa sa gobyerno lahat: “Solve corruption! Provide jobs and education!” But we will not pay taxes or lower tuition fees in Catholic schools.
4. Si Sotto: Makakalimutin naman ang mga botante. Buti na lang.
vander anievas says
yes, tama ka…
hindi dapat na makalimutan ang mga iyan na nasasa-bulsa na nila ang mga nakulimbat. tama ring busisiin ang mga kasalukuyang pagtatangka sapagkat iyan naman ang talagang nararapat. ang mahalaga ay lahat tayo ay nagtutulung-tulong upang ipaalala sa lahat ang mga kabuktutang ginawa, ginagawa at maaring gawin pa.
off topic po: ipagpatuloy ang mga pagsusuri sa mga nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan. hindi tayo dapat na malibang sa mga bago at kasalukuyang isyu/intriga.kontrobersya/anomalya.
Martial Bonifacio says
Ma-off topic lang po ako ha.
Hindi na ako magtataka kung magsasalita na naman si Dr. Topacio, Dr. Horn or Dr. Suarez to tell the entire filipino people that she needs “urgent medical treatment” :(
jorge bernas says
Hindi ako natutuwa sa news na si GMA suffered from dehydration eh pakainin lang nang saging yan ay mawawala na pagtatae niyan kaso nga lang eh baka bumara sa lalamunan katulad nang pagkain nito nang melon.
Tama ka, baka gustong humingi na naman nang urgent medical treatment abroad para makatakbo sa mga darating na arrest warrant. Sana mailabas na at nang makulong na si GMA sa totoong kulungan, ito ang gusto kong marinig, sana maiba naman ang news para marami kaming mapasaya kapag makitang nasa loob na si GMA sa BILANGGUAN….
Sealed with a T?
fidel g says
I have no sympathy for former USEC Rico Puno. I never really understood why he merited a special accommodation at the DILG simply on the basis of his being a trusted ally and shooting buddy of the President. And also, for all the time he was in control of the PNP, he had not made me feel safer on the streets and in my home.
Despite this however, I feel that what happened to him was unfair and unjust. It also showed to me the frightening power of media to destroy a man should it be media’s will to do so. By craftily describing the visit of Mr. Puno to the Robredo offices and residence as a “raid”, ABS CBN was able to spark the flame of a hate hysteria against a man who was innocent of doing such a thing. When it came out that Mr. Puno was authorized in his action, he ended up being pilloried for lacking courtesy as an agitated public now grope for other accusations to hurl at him.
This is not the way to clean up our government. No matter the goodness of one’s intentions, no man or his action deserves to be misrepresented and twisted just to get him out of the way. Truth should be our primordial concern. Those who dim the light of truth to make a point reveal themselves as shady characters as well.
You’re already assuming the ABS-CBN article is not true.
When ABS-CBN also disclosed a devastating confidential memo which has been established as authentic.
Mr. Puno was not authorized by the “Condo owner.” No issue as to the other “places” where the late Mr. Robredo held office. The president cannot authorize Mr. Puno as to the entry into the Condo without permission of the owner. The attempt to enter is enough. Call it “raid” or any other word. It is the “act” condemned. No one disproved that the preceding fact above stated is or was not true. A privacy right is involved.
If here, one would already show subjective feelings “it is unfair or unjust” how Mr. Puno is or was treated, surely how much more would one or an owner show the same subjective reaction and rant with so much anger “that there is an attempt on his or her Condo to be infiltrated, entered into, raided or whatever so as to search all without permission or knowledge from the owner!” Worst, the Condo is owned by the Secretary of DILG (now the widow)!
In western countries, they said that media can make and /or break an individual.
Same can be said in the Philippines, but with some emphasis of money and influence being utilized over the media and its personnel.
naghihimay tayo dito ng mga talakayin. maaaring walang tama, walang mali.
bahala ang mga mambabasa.
ang pananaw ay magkakaiba, magkakapareho; salu-salungat, magkakatugma…
ito’y isang halimbawa ng opinyon:
halaw ang opinyon na ‘yon dito:
I guess Mr. Lacierda used the wrong word! A Dictionary and Thesaurus books should be on his table always! “Coddle” is like boddle, dirty word. For the OP, some are not very careful using some words. Spokesman, eh?
How about “mollycoddle”, Leona?
…puede lazierddol…copyoddol…sottoddol…nag invent na naman tayo eh!
Puno may ‘go the way of Diokno,’ says source close to Aquino
sana po. Let’s keep our fingers cross that “Puno may ‘go the way of Diokno,” but… continue the investigation.
Johnny Lin says
Someone connected to one of these four was probably the source of this report.
PNoy has 4 trusted friends since grade school. 2 hold govt posts, one is a priest, other is a businessman. PNoy values the advice of these friends more than anybody except his siblings and uncle Len. They never failed him, defended, protected and love him like a brother. They are his 3 musketeers and D’Artagnan.
Raissa must know them.