“This guy has really gone mad,” Diokno said.
Geremy Pintolo
Benjamin Diokno on Rolando Andaya Jr.: 'He’s gone mad'
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno yesterday refuted the allegation of House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Procurement Service is allowed to bid for supplies and projects under the law. 

“This guy has really gone mad,” Diokno said.

Andaya accused the DBM of turning into a “super-bidding body” in violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and questioned why the agency was handling the bidding for P198 billion worth of government contracts.

Contrary to the allegations, Diokno said the Procurement Service (PS), an attached agency of the DBM, is legally mandated under Section 53 of RA 9184, Letter of Instruction 755 and Executive Order 359 to procure the common-use supplies (CSE) of the entire government.

He said Section 7.3.3 of the implementing rules and regulations of the Procurement Law authorizes procuring entities, including the Department of Transportation, to take advantage of the procurement proficiency of other agencies, particularly the PS, in the conduct of bidding for other items (non-CSE).

“Here, the PS acts as a procurement agent or the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the implementing agencies,” Diokno pointed out. He clarified though that the PS only handles the actual bidding of projects that the agencies ask them to handle.

Diokno added that the PS does not award the projects, but only makes recommendations to the head of procuring entity or agency. Thus, the approval or disapproval of the recommendation depends on the head of requesting agency.

He also stressed that the PS does not handle the payment to contractors and suppliers or any aspect of contract implementation as this responsibility and accountability remains with the implementing agency.

“Let me note as well that the PS is attached only to the DBM for administrative supervision. The DBM does not have a hand in its day-to-day operations nor does it act as approving authority in the determination of projects to bid out. The implementing agencies themselves request for the assistance of PS as a procurement agent, as they deem necessary,” Diokno said.

Bingle Gutierrez, PS executive director, also clarified that her office bid out contracts without the involvement of DBM. 

“The PS is not the DBM. It is an agency separate and distinct from the DBM,” she pointed out, citing Letter of Instruction 755, which said the PS is only attached to the DBM for purposes of administrative supervision.

“Hence, the DBM does not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the PS, especially in the conduct of bidding. The Bids and Awards Committee conducts the bidding without any approval or clearance from the DBM. It is independently conducted, consistent with the provisions of the Procurement Law,” she added.

Gutierrez revealed that the procurement of non-common goods and projects through the PS has been a practice even when Andaya was still the DBM chief.

“Records show that it has been undertaken by the PS for several years, including the time when Congressman Andaya was DBM secretary, when the PS also conducted end-to-end projects,” she said, referring to the awarding, contracting and implementation of projects.

Contrary to Andaya’s claim that the PS only procured common-use supplies during his stint as secretary, Gutierrez said the PS actually procured for the Department of National Defense the non-common use projects, such as combat boots, individual load bearing equipment and battle dress attire.

The practice of end-to-end projects, she noted, was halted only in mid-2017 when procurement procedures were reformed and the PS relegated only to a recommending agency.

Diokno said that it is the implementing agencies themselves that prepare the technical specifications and details of projects, including cost. To ensure full transparency in the bidding process, the agency is also part of the PS - Bids and Awards Committee as a provisional member.

“The PS has continually maintained the integrity of the bidding process by faithfully implementing the provisions of the procurement law. This is evident in the number of successfully bid projects by the PS, and the sustained confidence of the implementing agencies in its ability to procure for them,” the DBM chief also said.

He added that the “PS operations is well within and in accord with the mandate and directives of the laws cited, directly contradicting the baseless allegations of Congressman Andaya.”

One-stop megamall

But Andaya is not letting up as he claimed yesterday that the DBM awarded P37 billion worth of consultancy contracts in 2018.

“The DBM is not only procuring multibillion big-ticket infrastructure projects, it has also morphed into a one-stop megamall where consultants can bid for billions of pesos in contracts,” he said.

Andaya alleged that the biggest consultancy deal, worth P14.3 billion, was awarded last Oct. 31 for the north-south railway project of the Philippine National Railways. A consultancy contract for P11.7 billion was also reportedly given for the Metro Manila subway project phase 1 (Valenzuela-Parañaque). – With Jess Diaz

BENJAMIN DIOKNO DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT
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