SC affirms Manila court ruling giving nod to Customs IT project | Inquirer News

SC affirms Manila court ruling giving nod to Customs IT project

/ 08:07 PM May 02, 2018

The Bureau of Customs INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Supreme Court, in a decision made public on Wednesday, affirmed a Manila Court’s decision that the P650 million information technology project of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is still a go.

In a 14-page resolution, the high court’s first division through Associate Justice Noel Tijam, denied the petition filed by former BOC Commissioner Alberto Lina and Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service represented by Executive Director Jose Tomas Syquia that sought a reversal of the Aug. 24, 2015 injunction issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 Presiding Judge Paulino Gallegos.


The high court said the Manila Court judge did not abuse its discretion in stopping the cancellation of the project.


“For certiorari to lie, it must be shown that the respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion, or more specifically, that he exercised his power arbitrarily or despotically when he issued the omnibus order and the WPI (writ of preliminary injuction)…and such exercise was so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to perform or to act in contemplation of law. Petitioners, however, failed in this respect,” the high court said.

The high court remanded the case back to the Manila RTC for further proceedings on its merits.

In its August 2015 ruling, the Manila RTC granted the petition filed by Omniprime Marketing Inc. and Intrasoft International, Inc. seeking to stop the BOC from canceling the award of the contract for a modern integrated enhanced customs processing system (IECPS) to them.

With the injunction, Lina was barred from proceeding with his May 2015 order for a competitive bidding for the computerization program and the May 7, 2015 cancellation issued by Syquia.

The trial court also directed the BOC and the DBM to continue with the remaining procurement process of signing the contract and to issue to Omniprime the notice to proceed with the project.

The IECPS is composed of two consolidated computer programs necessary for the Asean integration. The integrated system, along with a national single window (NSW), is believed to be the solution to curb smuggling activities in the Philippines.


It establishes a central database system that tracks in real time all customs procedures nationwide. It aims to be a fully electronic, paperless and human contact-free system of recording and monitoring customs transactions.

The high court noted that the private respondents were declared the highest bidder for the project and that under Section 38, Article XI of the Government Procurement Reform Act, the contract is deemed approved if the government fails to take any action within three months from the opening of bids.

In the case of the private respondents, the SC noted that more than three months have elapsed since the opening of the bids, yet the petitioners failed to exercise the discretion of canceling the bidding process.

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Due to the inaction of Lina and Syquia, the contract between the private respondents and the government should have already been deemed approved upon the lapse of the three-month period, said the high court.

TAGS: Alberto Lina, Noel Tijam, Supreme Court

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