Senator seeks probe on purchase of light house spare parts

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV filed a resolution seeking probe on the billions of pesos worth of spare parts for the country's lighthouses that the Transportation department bought for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Trillanes, Senate Select Oversight Committee on Procurement chairman, said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) spent P1.15 billion on oil spill response equipment and lighthouse or "aids to navigation" (Aton) spare parts "without any request and without the knowledge of the supposed end-user, the PCG."

"Clearly, those responsible for wasting over a billion of the people’s money should be held accountable. The money could have gone a long way in enhancing the capabilities of the PCG, if said money was spent properly. This is clearly unforgivable," he said.

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He added the DOTC, headed then by former executive secretary Leandro
Mendoza, bought the equipment with expired Special Allotment Release
Orders (Saro).

Trillanes said Saros, certifications from the Budget department authorizing an agency to incur obligations, worth P250 million, P300 million and P400 million were released to the DOTC to upgrade lighthouses and to buy equipment for the PCG’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

The senator said that the projects were bidded out but that the Saros had already expired by then. He said the DOTC "did not even bother to ask the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to extend the Saros before pushing through the procurement process."

Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casino filed a resolution early this month asking the House committee on good government and public accountability to look into the deal that was sealed in 2009

"The DOTC's purchase of Mepe (marine environmental protection equipment) and Aton using lapsed Saros was not only irregular but highly questionable given that the PCG – the end-user of the said equipment - never made a request for such purchase and were never involved in the bidding and setting of terms of reference,” Casino's resolution read. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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