MCIAA BAC officials question motive of complaint
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - April 5, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Three Mactan airport officials have belittled the claim of Crisologo Saavedra as anti-graft crusader as they raised several questions on the motive behind his filing of charges against them.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority assistant general manager Glenn Napuli, the MCIAA Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman; Cyril Apao, BAC vice chairman; and Gina Cane, BAC member, issued a joint statement in response to Saavedra’s allegations.

Earlier, the three officials were sued before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly rigging the public bidding for the construction of the MCIAA’s Administration Building, budgeted for P200 million.

On March 14, they said, a contractor wrote the MCIAA BAC requesting to postpone the bid opening for another four weeks but they denied it.

Saavedra, in his complaint filed March 24, also wanted the BAC to postpone the bid opening saying “it was disadvantageous to the contractors who only purchased the bid documents on March 9, 2017.”

The bid opening on March 24 was witnessed by six contractors and attended by representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Procurement Office.

The officials said five of the six contractors that participated were new bidders and did not participate in the previous biddings.

“With 6 bidders participating, this only proves that these bidders trust the bidding process of MCIAA.  Contrary to the claim of Mr. Saavedra, these new bidders do not think that the date of bid opening is disadvantageous to them.  Only the contractor whose request we denied and Mr. Saavedra believed it so. Who should we believe now?  The bidders themselves who participated or someone who keeps on suing the BAC for reasons we already know?” read the statement.

Had the BAC acceded to the request of one contractor and the intention of Saavedra to postpone the bid opening, they said it will not only be in violation of R.A. 9184 but also an act of favoring that contractor and Saavedra.

“Certainly, we do not favor any contractor and any person even if that person is claiming to be an anti-graft crusader,” they said.

Among the defects in the bidding that Saavedra has pointed out were the non-implementation of the study and investigation of the soil through preliminary investigation as required by R.A. 9184 for multi-storey building.

The same is also required for the procurement and implementation of contracts for infrastructure projects’ building and design.

Engr. Achilles Ponce, the officer-in-charge of MCIAA’s Engineering Department and who is also a member of the BAC, through a letter dated March 7, endorsed to the BAC the required study and investigation documents that Saavedra is referring to.

However, Saavedra did not include Ponce and Engr. Eduardo Ginete, MCIAA’s Building Official and a technical expert member of the BAC, in his complaint.

The officials said the issue on the soil study and investigation being a technical matter can best be answered by these engineers.

They said this is not the first time that Ponce, despite being a BAC member, was excluded by Saavedra in his complaints.

“What is in Engr. Ponce that every time Mr. Saavedra files a complaint against the MCIAA BAC, he is always excluded as a respondent?  They must know something that we don’t.  Why is it that Mr. Saavedra always gets documents despite not being a participant in the bidding activities?  Who in the BAC provides him documents?  What is that person’s reward for providing him documents?  Perhaps Mr. Saavedra can enlighten us on those,” read the statement.

If within a week Saavedra will not include the engineers most especially Ponce in his complaint, the officials said they will be filing a case against Ponce, Ginete and Saavedra so that there will be a thorough investigation.

“What is the connection between Mr. Saavedra and the contractor that wants us to postpone the bidding?  Who in the BAC provided Mr. Saavedra documents and information?  Why is Mr. Saavedra protecting some members of the BAC? Are these people working for or against a contractor?  Is this complaint just filed to influence the BAC?” the statement said.

The three officials also said the Ombudsman should investigate why Saavedra was able to secure documents when he was not a bidder.

“Like Mr. Saavedra, we want to find out if there were really irregularities committed.  We now want to know why Engr. Ponce submitted documents to BAC that allegedly lacked the soil study as claimed by Mr. Saavedra.  If the technical documents are found by the Ombudsman to be lacking, then the undersigned would like to know why our Engineer-members of the BAC failed to perform their duties.  We expect Mr. Saavedra to welcome such investigation also if indeed he is a true anti-graft buster,” reads the statement. (FREEMAN)

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