THE Cebu City Legal Office said the City Government has no basis to pay a private engineering and architectural firm P33.3 million for its design and supervision in the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center.
This, unless Espina, Perez-Espina & Associates can produce the notice of award signed the city mayor and the resolution on the procurement of services from the bids and awards Committee (BAC).
In a letter submitted to the City Council dated July 21, lawyer Bernard Inocentes Garcia said it is important that the strict requirements of Republic Act (RA) 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, had been complied with in the alleged procurement of consultative services of the firm.
Section 10 of RA 9184 provides that all government procurement for infrastructure projects, goods and consulting services shall be done through competitive public bidding, except as provided under the alternative modes of procurement.
“(Further), it is basic that the notice of award signed by the city mayor in favor of the firm must be produced before payment is made. Equally important is the BAC resolution recommending to the city mayor the award of the contract of the said firm,” read portion of the letter.
Garcia pointed out that competitive public bidding is the preferred mode of award for all government procurements, including consulting services.
He said it may not be dispensed with nor circumvented, and all alternative modes of procurement may only be resorted to in certain instances, conditions or extraordinary circumstances provided by law.
“In other words, public bidding is the general rule, while alternative modes of procurement are the exceptions,” the letter added.
Of the P33.3 million, P8.5 million for the schematic design phase has been levied as pro bono, or without charge.
Sought for comment, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said City Hall will not pay the first billing sent by Architect Mischa Maxime Espina of the Espina, Perez-Espina & Associates.
In an earlier interview, the mayor said that Espina had already admitted during a council session in the time of the 13th Sanggunian that he will not collect any fees for his services.
“Was it free? Yes. It was quoted there in the minutes. Was there a selection process? Yes. (Former mayor) Mike Rama said ‘you’re the guy.’ That’s a selection process, so why don’t he let Rama pay? There is a selection process in the choosing of consultants, but it wasn’t done (properly),” Osmeña said.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach the firm for their comment, but wasn’t available as of press time. (RTF)