Palace justifies order to review CALAX bidding
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang justified yesterday President Aquino’s decision to grant San Miguel Corp.’s appeal for a review of the Department of Public Works and Highways decision to disqualify it from bidding for the P35.4-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway project.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the review was in accordance with Administrative Order 22 series of 2011.

“The Office of the President, through the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, is now conducting a review of the appeal of that company that is associated with San Miguel Corp. on this specific project,” Coloma said.

Asked about the timeline to resolve the matter, Coloma said they would just wait for the recommendation and action on the appeal.

He said AO 22 lays down the process that must be followed in conducting the review.

“They will follow the process,” Coloma said.

In an order dated June 30 and reported by Reuters, the Palace granted SMC’s request for a review of its case, ordering it to submit its appeal straight to Aquino’s office within 30 days.

Aquino’s uncle, Eduardo Cojuangco, is the chairman of SMC although their families have had political differences in the past. SMC’s president and chief executive officer is Ramon Ang.

SMC had said last month it would seek all legal options after the government threw out its bid for the CALAX toll road project, the biggest under a Public-Private Partnership scheme.

The decision of the special bids and awards committee of the Department of Public Works and Highways to disqualify its bid was “prejudicial, unfair, and disregards both legal and all common-sense considerations that should be given to projects of this scale and importance,” SMC said.

The committee, in its decision, said the bid security submitted by SMC’s unit Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. was not compliant with rules because of a discrepancy in the validity and expiry periods it contained. 

“We reject this decision and will explore all legal remedies available to us in order to ensure fair play and give the Filipino people the best possible deal for this vital infrastructure project,” SMC said.

The DPWH said other bidders qualified for the tender. They comprise a consortium formed by Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; a group consisting of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.; DMCI Holdings Inc. and Leighton Holdings Inc.; and Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd.

The project involves a 35-year state contract to finance, design, construct, and operate a 47-kilometer four-lane toll road connecting two expressways south of the capital.

ABOITIZ EQUITY VENTURES INC ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER AQUINO AYALA CORP CAPITAL BHD CAVITE-LAGUNA EXPRESSWAY COLOMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS EDUARDO COJUANGCO SAN MIGUEL CORP
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