Press Release
February 16, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas has sought an inquiry into another anomaly-tainted bidding process, this time involving the purchase of p1.4 billion worth of earth-moving equipment by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

"Isa na namang halimbawa ito ng katiwalian, ng anomalya na laganap dito sa administrasyong ito. Lahat nitong mga bidding na ito ay may kasamang anomalya na kung saan overpriced at mas pinili ang mas mahal kesa dun sa mura (This is another proof of this government's corruption. All these bidding processes ay accompanied with anomalies where everything is overpriced)," he said.

Roxas has filed PS Resolution No. 880 seeking an inquiry by the Senate blue ribbon committee into the alleged bid rigging and collusive practices of two firms with the NIA-Bids and Awards Committee (NIA-BAC) in connection with the acquisition of 139 units of hydraulic excavator, crawler type 0.80M3 capacity; 69 units of hydraulic excavator, crawler type 0.50M3 capacity; and 15 units of truck tractor with trailer for the repair of irrigation and drainage canals nationwide.

The senator cited data received and gathered by his office showing how the NIA-BAC allegedly manipulated the bidding for the purchase of the P1.4 billion-worth of equipment "precisely to limit the number of participants in the bid project."

He noted how the NIA set up stringent rules and an impractical bidding period during the invitation to bid process, which it published only once in December 16, 2008 in an advertisement that came out in one of the country's broadsheet newspapers. The public bidding was scheduled to be held last January 16, 2009.

He said that because of the short and limited period for the purchase of the bid documents, plus the fact that the announcement came out too close to the Christmas break, only a number of contractors were able to submit their bid proposals.

"Talagang ginawa ang lahat, inayos, minanipula ang mga patakaran para ma-etsa-puwera 'yung mga lehitimong nasa negosyong ito, para mapaboran ang mga favored na mga kontratista (They did everything to manipulate the bidding and to disqualify more qualified firms to be able to award the contract to their favore4d contractors)," he lamented

He said the NIA-BAC committed violations of the general principles of the Government Procurement Act and violated the principle of streamlined procurement process when it disqualified bidders on its own discretion.

The Ilonggo senator added the NIA-BAC violated the system of competitiveness "thereby raising a well-grounded belief of collusion" when it awarded the contract to the winning bidders, Transport Equipment Corporation (TEC) and Civic Merchandising Inc. (Civic) despite the fact that their respective bid prices were 20% higher than that offer4ed by the disqualified bidders.

Roxas said that because of the irregular award of the contract to TEC and Civic, "the possible loss to the government is P300 million, more or less" which he said made the entire process disadvantageous to the interest of the government and the general public.

He insisted the bidding must be recalled for being "utterly flawed" and a new and more transparent bidding process be held to "assure competitiveness, thereby insuring the4 best interest of the government and the public."

"Talagang mabaho itong transaksyon na ito at hahalungkatin natin ito. Tayo na naman ang magbabayad nito. Babayaran natin, una, 'yung ibinili nitong mga equipment na ito. Pangalawa, magbabayad muli tayo sa matataas na presyo ng bigas. Tayo palagi, ang pangkaraniwan na tao palagi ang kawawa sa mga anomalyang nakikita natin sa administrasyong ito (This transaction really stinks and we will look deeper into this. We will pay for this, first for the purchase of the equipment. And second, we will pay for the higher cost of rice. It is always the ordinary citizens who pay for the anomalous and corrupt practices of this government)," he said.

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