From Garcia’s previous term: PB ratifies P38M unpaid contracts
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - September 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board ratified at least 34 contracts entered into by the Province of Cebu covering various infrastructure projects completed during the previous term of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

The contracts had a total amount of P38 million representing the collectibles of 10 different contractors from the Capitol. PB Member Edsel Galeos sponsored the resolutions ratifying the contracts and ensure payment thereof.

The controversial items in the agenda during yesterday’s regular session of the Provincial Board allegedly prompted several members, including Vice Governor Hilario Davide Jr., to be absent.

Aside from Davide, PB Members Horacio Franco, Miguel Antonio Magpale, Thadeo Jovito Ouano, Jerome Christian Librando, Liga ng mga Barangay President Celestino Martinez III, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Jericho Rubio and Philippine Councilors League President Edward Francis Salimbangon also did not show up.

Presiding Pro-Tempore Yolanda Daan had to declare a 20-minute recess immediately after the roll call because there was no quorum. Those who were present--PB Members Christopher Baricuatro, Raul Bacaltos, Galeos, John Ismael Borgonia, Victoria Corominas-Toribio, Kerrie Keane Shimura, Andrie Duterte and Glenn Anthony Soco—agreed to wait for the other members to come to obtain a quorum.

Few minutes into the recess PB Member Jose Mari Salvador arrived to complete the required number to declare a quorum.

During the discussion, Galeos explained that all the projects were funded under the 20 percent development fund have undergone regular procurement procedures by the Provincial Bids and Awards Committee and were already completed and satisfactorily delivered by the contractors.

“These ratification resolutions are necessary so that the contractors need not file arbitration case against the province before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC),” Galeos said.

Galeos cited various instances where the Province of Cebu was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a contractor even beyond the coverage of a contract and even without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

During the administration of then governor Davide, the Provincial Board entered into a compromise agreement with the EMS Sarmiento Construction through a resolution sponsored by Martinez in November 2017 because of the civil case for collection of sum of money representing the remaining unpaid balance of a contract.

Galeos pointed out that the effect of administrative remedies between the province and contractors has set a predictable precedent.

“In a string of cases filed by the contractors against the Province of Cebu before the CIAC, where a common defense is the lack or absence of prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu when said contracts were entered into, the rulings of the CIAC are always in favor of the contractors,” Galeos said.

All the decisions of the cases cited by Galeos were anchored on the judicial maxim called, “Quantum meruit” which is a Latin for "as much as he deserved," the actual value of services performed.

Quantum meruit determines the amount to be paid for services when no contract exists or when there is doubt as to the amount due for the work performed but done under circumstances when payment could be expected.

Galeos explained that what was presented before the body are the collectible balances that were long overdue for the companies which had faithfully rendered services and delivered the terms and conditions contained in the contract.

“The precedent cases are clear manifestations to dispel any cloud of doubts in our minds against future legal consequences of ratifying these contracts entered into by the province years ago. If the purpose of this act of payments that has long been denied of these contractors, then it should be given due course for it is the righteous thing to do,” Galeos added.

Socor Construction Corp. has 18 different contracts with a total collectibles of P22.2 million; WTG Construction and Development Corp. has seven contracts amounting to P9.1 million; Barr Steel Construction has four contracts amounting to P401,542.29; BL Pangan Construction has five contracts in the amount of P1.6 million.

Maningo Enterprises has four contracts amounting to P2.2 million; Becartine Construction and Supply has two contracts amounting to P391,505.82; Walter Ng Lao Construction has one in the amount of P2.8 million; ZMS Construction has one contract in the amount of P214,549.67; Gowil Builders has one in the amount of P524,184.55, and Marcelina R. Arseo in the amount of P200,309. (FREEMAN)

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