Probe vs Leonardia, 11 others on-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
THE Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas has found enough basis to proceed with the criminal and administrative investigation on the complaint filed against former Bacolod City mayor and now lone district Representative Evelio Leonardia and 11 others in relation to the P50-million purchase of furniture and fixtures for the Government Center.
The complaint was filed by the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Pelagio Apostol, deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, and Euphemia Bacalso, acting director, in their order dated June 28, 2013, directed the respondents to file their counter-affidavits and other controverting evidence to the complaint within 10 days from receipt of the order.
Aside from Leonardia, the other respondents are lawyer Goldwin Nifras, former secretary to the mayor; former budget officer Luzviminda Treyes; the deceased Allan Zamora, former city legal officer; Nelson Sedillo, head of the Department of Public Services; City Engineer Belly Aguillon; lawyer Gliceria Caduhada, former member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC)-Technical Working Group; City Account Eduardo Ravena; engineer Alladino Agbones; City Engineer Jaries Ebenizer Encabo; Melvin Recabar, head, BAC Secretariat; and City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos.
Statement of the case
The city procured furniture and fixtures to complement the then newly constructed Government Center. The bidding was conducted October 7, 2008 with three participating bidders, namely, Unicom Office Designs, Summit Furnishings Inc., and Comfac Corporation.
The original complainant, Victor Puey, was one of the observers during the bidding. It was him who raised the eligibility of Comfac to supply the furniture and fixtures.
Puey said respondent BAC declared in the General Information Sheet of Comfac as "passed," even though its nature of business is information technology support system and not furniture manufacturer.
Puey said if any of the documents in the eligibility envelope is declared "failed", then, all other envelopes such as technical and financial envelops should not anymore be considered.
Thus, Comfac is not a qualified bidder to supply the desired furniture and fixtures, he stressed.
Even if the bidder is not a furniture manufacturer, the City awarded the contract of furniture and fixtures amounting to P49,059,696.81 to Comfac.
The items covered by purchase order 1024-08 dated 24 October 2008 is to be delivered in full within a period of 30 days from date of perfection, which was on November 7, 2008.
Roderick Aguas, systems engineer and authorized representative of Comfac, signed the "conforme" in the purchase order.
‘It’s a vindication’
Puey, one of the initiatory complainants representing Distinctive Blinds and Furnitures, said this new development means that the Ombudsman has already recommended to prosecute the respondents and they will be facing a case before the Sandiganbayan.
"We were just asking for justice when they excluded us to participate in bidding. Our proposed bid price then was P39 million plus and showed samples of the furniture. The winning bidder's line of business was an IT and not furniture firm. They bidded for P49 million plus and their furniture and fixtures were of inferior quality," he said.
Puey added they cannot forget their bad experience with the former BAC.
The winning bidder started to deliver some of the furniture in April of 2008 when the bidding will still start between July and August. They were supposed to deliver all the furniture and fixtures within three months, but it took them seven months to complete the delivery, he said.
Puey said this is a vindication on their part who exerted much effort to participate in an honest to goodness bidding, but unfortunately ended up in an alleged "rigged bidding."
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 04, 2013.