Manila court stops Customs computerization

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Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA—A Manila court has granted the petition of a losing bidder to temporarily stop implementation of a contract for the computerization of the Bureau of Customs.

Judge Josefina Siscar of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 55 granted the writ of preliminary injunction sought by Omni Prime Marketing Inc. against Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and members of the special bids and awards committee headed by Deputy Commissioner Peter Manzano.

The P500-million project, called Integrated Philippine Customs System, was awarded to the joint venture of Webb Fontaine Group FZ-LLC and GROW Inc. after a public bidding.

Omni Prime later learned that the joint venture agreement submitted by Webb Fontaine was not notarized by lawyer Pedro Genato but by a certain Joel Lapinig using Genato’s name.

The court said Omni Prime wrote letters in April and May to Manzano asking for a reconsideration but the notice of award was still issued in June without any action on the former’s motion.

Webb Fontaine argued that since Omni Prime was a disqualified bidder, it could not claim any clear and positive right to be entitled to the issuance of a TRO and writ of preliminary injunction.

“While it is true that petitioner (Omni Prime) was disqualified, it cannot be denied that it suffered some damage when Webb Fontaine and GROW Inc. submitted their bid using spurious documents,” the court said.

The court said there was an urgency to act on the petition since the notice of award, contract agreement and notice to proceed had already been issued by the BOC to Webb Fontaine.

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