Bid docs for Ilocos Norte’s P26-M purchases fake?
The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System has no records of the purported bid documents used to support various purchases by the Ilocos Norte government totaling P26 million in 2012.
PhilGEPS Executive Director Rosa Maria Clemente’s statement during the continuation of the House of Representatives’ investigation on Thursday led lawmakers to suspect that provincial officials have resorted to falsification.
Clemente said “there were no records found referring of the transactions” regarding the purchase of medicines, fertilizer, sculptures and construction services.
She said the bid invitation purportedly issued for the purchase of P5.999 million in medicines and fertilizers from Grace Valdez had a reference number matching a transaction by Tanauan City, Batangas, and not Ilocos Norte. Valdez, the receipt of the cash advance, was a member of the bids and awards committee.
The documents for the purchases of P2.986-million in marble busts from Vilmarie Pangted, P10.475 million in insecticide from Encarnacion Gaor, and P1.75 million in medicines from Noralyn Boque had reference numbers that actually pertained to transactions by Muntinlupa City, the Civil Service Commission, and the province of Iloilo.
Meanwhile, there were no records at all for the reference number indicated in the bid document for the P4.838-million purchase of materials and precast concrete from Joseph Castro for Paseo de Paoay.
Deputy Majority Floor Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc said the PhilGEPS documents used by the Ilocos Norte government were “fake or the document numbers were imitations.”
But, bids and awards committee chair Pedro Agcaoili Jr., said: “The way I recall it, the publication was valid. My secretariat did it. I asked them, and they assured [me] it was published.”
House committee chair Rep. Johnny Pimentel, however, said subordinate job-order employees would not have pulled off the apparent scheme without Agcaoili’s participation.
“I think it was done with the consent of Mr. Agcaoili. If you’re JO, contractual, what is your interest in faking the documents. I would be risking my position as contractual!” said Pimentel.
Governor Imee Marcos, who had repeatedly washed her hands off the alleged irregularities and argued that she relied on her subordinates’ actions, told lawmakers: “I’m absolutely shocked by this discovery.”
“To the best of my knowledge, these went through the proper process,” said Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Inquirer earlier reported that the Commission on Audit flagged these five transactions for being purchased by way of cash advances, instead of regular check disbursements.
This was the same method used in the Ilocos Norte government’s controversial purchase of 115 vehicles worth P66.45 million, using tobacco tax proceeds mandated by law for the benefit of farmers.
The House committee on Thursday also granted legislative immunity to Fabian Go, the president of Granstar Motors and Industrial Corp., the supplier of 70 minitrucks and 40 multicabs in 2011 and 2012.
Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, who offered Go immunity, cited his testimony that he did not actually know he was transacting with the Ilocos Norte government and did not participate in any bidding process. JE