COA disallows 2012 purchase of Capitol vehicles
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - June 1, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Commission on Audit has issued two notices of disallowance against the Cebu provincial government for procuring P4.7 million worth of vehicles in 2012.

The first disallowance was on the procurement of 11 units of “ambu-van” multicabs amounting to P2,739,000.  The second one was on the purchase of eight “ambu-multicab easy riders” totaling to P1,992,000.

Both contracts were awarded to Porta Coeli Industrial Co.Inc.

COA identifies the liable persons as former governor Gwendolyn Garcia, former provincial accountant and now provincial treasurer Emmanuel Guial, former Bids and Awards Committee chairman Roy Salubre, Bernard Calderon (former BAC vice chairman goods and services and former provincial general services officer), Marivic Garces (former BAC chairman on goods and services and member and now Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office head), and former BAC members Emme Gingoyon (former budget officer), Adolfo Quiroga (former provincial planning and development officer) and EulogioPelayre (former assistant provincial engineer).

Garcia, former acting provincial governor and current Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Guial, Garces, Calderon, Gingoyon, former BAC member-goods and services Ma.Junelene Arenas, Purog and Cebu Sixth District Representative Gabriel Luis Quisumbing are cited liable for the purchase of the other eight vehicles.

The COA notice, issued the other week, directs the identified personalities to settle immediately the said disallowances.

State auditors Lolita Mercedes and Josette Rodriguez questioned the mode of procurement and the process the invitation to bid was done. They said the invitation to bid the P2.74 million for the 11 units was not reportedly advertised in a newspaper of general nationwide circulation.

They also said the justification made by the former Bids and Awards chairman Salubre was not even supported with a printed copy of their email to the newspaper, which was not also identified in the said justification document.

Also, the invitation to bid was not also posted on the PhilGEPS website, violating the Government Procurement Policy Board.

Section 21.2.1 (b) of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9184 (General Procurement Reform Act) provides that the bid must be posted in the said website for seven days from the date of advertisement, otherwise it will be “null and void.”

Auditors also disallowed the P1.99 million payment for eight multicabs because it reportedly violated Section 8 of the Procurement Law.

The provision prohibits reference to brand names. It states that “specifications for the Procurement of Goods shall be based on relevant characteristics and/or performance requirements.”

The mode of procurement used, which was direct contracting, was also “improper” as described by the commission.

“The item procured was limited to the brand being offered by the said company and not on its specifications which may have been offered by other companies at more advantageous term to the LGU,” part of the three-page notice reads.

Moreover, COA noted that the contractor’s mayor’s business permit was valid until December 31, 2011 but the transaction was reportedly made only seven months after or on July 6, 2012.

The commission also assailed the validity of the submitted Department of Trade and Industry certificate of business registration, which was valid only until October 17, 2011.

The BAC recommendation for the award of contract for the P1.99 million vehicles was done on July 6, 2012 and the purchase order was made on July 2, 2016. The P2.74 million’s opening of bids was done in December 2011 and the contract agreement was made in February 2012.

COA said the eight multicabs were requested by Elizabeth Francia, then executive assistant of Garcia. The commission said the procurement was sourced from Quisumbing’s Priority Development Assistance Fund.

“…Quisumbing has financial and pecuniary interest in Porta Coeli Industrial Co. Inc. thus violating Section 3 (h) and 3 (i) of RA. 3019,” state auditors claim.

State auditors said audit disallowances not appealed within six months from receipt will become final and executory as stipulated under Sections 48 and 51 of Presidential Decree 1445.

Garcia, Salubre, Quiroga, Gingoyon, Calderon, and Pelayre were among 11 Capitol officials indicted over the alleged irregularities in the Cebu International Convention Center project.

Garces, former BAC-goods and services chair, declined interviews yesterday. Guial, on the other hand, said he will appeal to COA regional office to remove his name from the list of liable persons. He said it is the responsibility of BAC to answer the questioned transactions since the contracts were “certified” by BAC officials.

The FREEMAN tried to reach Garcia for comment but received no reply. — (FREEMAN)

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