Senator Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said staff service chief Conrado Sumanga Jr. of the National Police Commission’s installation and logistics service is misleading senators in the chamber’s investigation into the allegedly anomalous purchase of pre-owned helicopters, in a clear attempt to cover-up the misdeeds of people involved in the chopper fiasco.

During Monday’s hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Sumanga, who supposedly conducted a study on the project proposal submitted by the Philippine National Police (PNP), argued that amendments to the specifications were made so that another bidder—Beeline—would have qualified to the minimum 100 knots as specified in the procurement.

Sumanga insisted that Beeline’s Enstrom F28F and F280FX are equipped with a maximum cruise speed of 112 knots and 117 knots, respectively.

Drilon, however, stood pat to his earlier statement that modifications to the technical specifications of the choppers were made to tailor fit the technical characteristics of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s choppers, which were eventually sold as brand new to the Philippine National Police.

Sumanga, Drilon said, “got his measurement nomenclatures wrong,” adding that the measurement referred to by Sumanga during the hearing were in miles per hour (mph) not knots (a mile is equivalent to about 0.87 knots).

Enstrom F28F’s speed is at 97 knots or equivalent to 112 mph and Entrom F280FX’s speed is at 102 knots or 117 mph, said Drilon.

“A more in-depth analysis points that Sumanga excluded the weight in the examination of cruise speed,” he said, adding that the Enstrom choppers are only capable of reaching a maximum cruise speed of 75 knots given a 2,600-pound working weightage, as required by the revised Napolcom specifications.

“Just the same, Enstrom F28F and F280FX would have been disqualified,” Drilon said.

The PNP- Uniform and Equipment Standardization Board drafted the original specifications through Resolution No. 2008-01 issued on February 11, 2008 that require, among others, a minimum power rating of 225-horsepower, 2,500-pound minimum gross weight, minimum cruise speed of 110 knots, minimum range of 229 miles, and minimum height capability of 12,000 feet.

Changes were made on April 9, 2008 through Resolution No. 2008-16 which required, among others, a 200-horsepower minimum power rating, 2,600-pound maximum gross weight, 100-knot minimum cruise speed, 300-mile minimum range, and 14,000 feet maximum height capability.

The adjustments, Drilon said, clearly were made so they would be a perfect fit for Manila Aerospace Products Trading that carried Mike Arroyo’s two Robinson Raven 1 choppers.