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Ombudsman gives Verzosa last chance to answer boat deal raps

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman is giving former Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa one more chance to answer allegations that he is involved in the allegedly anomalous purchase of P131.5-million worth of rubber boats and boat engines for the PNP in 2009.

A special panel of prosecutors and investigators, formed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales nearly two months ago to probe the transaction, said Verzosa has 10 days from receiving the summons it issued yesterday to file his counter-affidavit.

Sources said the team failed to locate Verzosa since it started its investigation on Nov. 23, 2011. One source said investigators finally found Verzosa’s latest known address – Better Living Subdivision in Parañaque City.

Morales gave the panel 60 days to complete its task of determining whether those tagged involved in the anomaly should be indicted before the Sandiganbayan.

The Ombudsman’s investigation stems from a complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, which named Verzosa and 20 other police officers and private individuals as respondents to the case in October 2011.
The 75 police rubber boats and 18 spare outboard motors, purchased for the PNP Maritime Group in 2009, were useless because of the “functional incompatibility” of the motors and the boats.

Verzosa is also being probed for his alleged participation in the PNP helicopter deal anomaly, also in 2009, when the PNP bought second-hand helicopters – allegedly from former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo – that were passed off as brand new.

Both investigations, conducted by two separate special panels, are expected to be completed by Jan. 23, the deadline set by Morales.
By Michael Punongbayan The Philippine Star Updated January 10, 2012 12:00 AM


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