Capitol revives P254M deal on All Souls’ Day

ON THE day of the dead, the Capitol will revive a plan to buy some P252.68 million worth of heavy equipment.

It will hold a pre-bidding conference on Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, nearly four months after a failure of bidding was declared. Officials have invited some critics of the Provincial Government’s bidding procedures to observe the activity.

In his invitation letter, bids and awards committee (BAC) chair Mark Tolentino pointed out that the Capitol needs suppliers of construction equipment, including hydraulic excavators, crawler tractors, wheel loaders, motor graders, vibratory rollers, forklifts, self-loaders, dump trucks, water trucks, and boom trucks.

These will be used for road construction and maintenance.

Among those the Capitol has invited to the pre-bidding conference are radio commentator and columnist Bobby Nalzaro and businessman Cris Saavedra, who has also criticized some of the present administration’s transactions. Nalzaro declined the invitation.

For his part, Saavedra claimed that he has received an unsigned letter that contained a threat. He suspects it had something to do with his criticisms of the Capitol’s deals.

“Should you commit one false move over the heavy equipment or consultancy services, we’ll make sure you and your family will be in peace for good,” part of the unsigned letter read.

Whoever sent it did not explain what “consultancy services” he or she meant.

Saavedra, in turn, sent a letter to Gov. Hilario Davide III.

“At this point in time we are holding the BAC members and you, as head of the procuring office, responsible for my life and of my family,” read part of his letter.

The bidding for the Capitol’s purchase of P250 million worth of heavy equipment started in 2015. ConEquip was declared the winning bidder, even if it had submitted a higher price than three other bidders did. The other three are Civic Merchandising, RDAK Transport Equipment and TKC Heavy Industries.

During the Provincial Board’s inaugural session last July, Governor Davide declared a failure of bidding. The governor, who was just starting his second term at the Capitol, cited public interest and a need to dispel all doubts of the integrity of Capitol’s procurement process.

He pointed out that the bidding process had become a campaign issue his detractors used ahead of the May 2016 elections.

The day of the pre-bidding, All Souls’ Day, will be the first working day for the Capitol and most offices this week, after the long weekend declared for All Saints’ Day.
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