Lorenzo, Yap face graft raps for P46-M fertilizer bidding mess | Inquirer News

Lorenzo, Yap face graft raps for P46-M fertilizer bidding mess

/ 06:40 AM May 01, 2018

Former Agriculture Secretary Luis “Cito” Lorenzo Jr. and former National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Arthur Yap have been charged in the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged lack of bidding for the purchase of P46.45 million worth of fertilizers in July and August 2003.

Ombudsman prosecutors charged Lorenzo and Yap, as well as Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corp. (Philphos) representative Tomas Guibani, with five counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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According to prosecutors, Lorenzo and Yap gave unwarranted benefits to Philphos by directing the bids and awards committees in five of the country’s regions to purchase 92,158 bags of fertilizer through negotiated procurement, instead of competitive bidding.

Simultaneous opening

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Prosecutors also questioned the issuance of a guideline that the opening of bids for the Luzon-wide procurement of fertilizers be simultaneously done at the NFA central office in Manila.

The guidelines were also allegedly amended to favor Philphos by allowing only suppliers with depots within or near the pertinent region to participate in the procurement process.

The issuances and directives were “issued to ensure the award [of the contracts] to Manila-based Philphos … to the damage and prejudice of the government,” the prosecutors said.

A total of 66,782 bags of fertilizer worth P31.32 million went to Central Luzon.

‘Savings for government’

The contracts also concerned the purchase of 14,000 bags (P9.58 million), 5,876 bags (P2.94 million), 4,200 bags (P2.02 million), and 1,300 bags (P595,636) of fertilizer by the Bicol Region, Cagayan Valley, Southern Tagalog Region and National Capital Region.

Bail of P150,000 each was set for the provisional liberty of Lorenzo, Yap and Guibani.

Sought for comment, Yap, representative of Bohol’s third district, told the Inquirer that “the NFA procurement followed the law and resulted in savings for the government.”

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TAGS: anomalous fertilizer purchase, Arthur Yap, Department of Agriculture, Luis Lorenzo Jr., NFA, Philphos, Sandiganbayan, Tomas Guibani
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