Bill seeks more safeguards in awarding of public contracts
MANILA, Philippines—Amid the outrage over the questionable disbursement of some of his colleagues’ pork barrel, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III has filed a bill that seeks to amend the Government Procurement Reform Act to restrict the awarding of public contracts to private companies.
Senate Bill No. 76 proposes to expand the list of offenses that may be committed in the awarding of government contracts and ensure that the procurement process will not be used as a means for corruption, Guingona said.
“We have seen numerous times wherein the government was duped into bogus deals just because there aren’t enough safeguards to protect us from unscrupulous elements. We are therefore seeking to cover all bases, so to speak, with this bill,” he said.
The bill provides that recommending, approving or awarding contracts to bidders “not legally, and/or financially capable” would be punishable.
It lists other punishable acts in relation to the awarding of government contracts:
— Approving or accepting goods, products or services different from those approved by the appropriate procurement committees or those indicated in the supply contract.
— For no lawful cause, changing or causing the change of specifications and/or other technical requirements to favor a particular supplier.
Guingona, who chaired the Senate blue ribbon committee in the 15th Congress, said the bill was a “direct result” of its investigation of the Philippine National Police’s anomalous helicopter deal in which two second-hand choppers allegedly owned by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, husband of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, were passed off as brand-new and sold to the PNP.
“We need to send out a strong message that the government will no longer tolerate shady deals and transactions where public funds are concerned. It is our aim that through this bill, government transactions will be entered into with full trust between parties involved,” the senator said.
Guingona filed the measure following the Inquirer series on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam pulled off by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles over the past 10 years.
The National Bureau of Investigation said Napoles funneled the Priority Development Assistance Fund of five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives into a network of bogus nongovernment organizations to facilitate huge kickbacks for the lawmakers.
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