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Suppliers dun Comelec for P46M for poll services

/ 05:40 AM August 03, 2016

The Commission on Elections is not yet settling with some printing companies demanding more than P46 million in payment for their services during the May national and local elections.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Tuesday said four firms had written the Comelec demanding to be paid for their services.

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“They were demand letters from suppliers in the last elections, complaining that they had not yet been paid since the time the [Comelec] en banc awarded the bids to them. It’s a serious concern,” Guanzon said.

The four firms were seeking payment of a total of P46,965,025.32 for services reportedly rendered without notices of award, contracts or notices to proceed.

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Demand letters

Guanzon furnished reporters copies of some of the demand letters—one dated July 25 from Tri-Mega Business International and another dated July 29 from Topbest Printing Corp.

A list from Guanzon’s office showed two other suppliers still unpaid: R.O. Tesoro & Sons and Harmsley’s Trading.

The goods supplied included voter information materials like signs and posters, tally boards and voter information sheets for Comelec offices in Mindanao, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Metro Manila.

Guanzon said the issue was discussed during the poll agency’s en banc session on Tuesday, during which she suggested the creation of a fact-finding body to investigate the matter.

“Who is responsible? This is potentially an audit problem. We need to have the facts to help the en banc decide whether we should pay… or not,” she said.

Guanzon said there were other suppliers in the last elections that had not yet been paid, and the total amount may reach P70 million.

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Need to validate

In a separate interview, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the agency was looking into the issue and had written its field offices to confirm receipt of the election materials from the four companies that had sent demand letters.

“We don’t want to disburse public funds only to find out these were ghost deliveries so we are validating these demand letters,” he said.

Bautista said some notices of award and notices to proceed were delivered late to the suppliers—even way after the elections—hence some of the companies did not receive their notices.

“We’re going about this carefully. I really want to make sure we make the right payments,” he said.

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