THE Provincial Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) has awarded the contract for the purchase of P252 million-worth of light and heavy equipment for the province’s infrastructure work to the joint venture of ConEquip Phils. and Rdak Merchandising. Capitol has applied for a loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for it.
The Provincial Board (PB) has also given Gov. Hilario Davide III the authority to sign the contract with the winning bidder. This despite the questions raised by some quarters on the conduct of the bidding, which was the second one conducted.
Except for The Limitless Inc., sister company of Rdak, no other heavy equipment suppliers joined the bidding. Some suppliers accused the PBAC of favoring ConEquip when it hastily changed bidding rules.
ConEquip won the first bidding even if it offered the highest bid. Davide later declared a failure of bidding following charges it was rigged.
Self-styled anti-corruption crusader Crisologo Saavedra and another taxpayer filed a graft complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against Davide, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, members of the PB who voted the resolution giving authority to the governor to sign the contract, members of the PBAC and the proprietors of the winning bidder.
A group called Concerned Capitol Employees wrote to the LBP asking a bank official not to approve Capitol’s loan application. It was addressed to Allan Bisnar of the loan department of LBP’s Osmeña Blvd. Branch. I was furnished a copy of the letter sent through LBC by a certain “Tata Gallon” of Capitol (as evidenced by the airway bill. Here’s a part of the group’s letter:
“We, the employees of the Cebu Provincial Government is sending to you the case we filed with the Ombudsman against corrupt officials of the Province. We are doing this to save from being branded as corrupt also as only few are involved in it. Majority of us are innocent.
‘We are appealing to you to disapprove the loan application of Cebu Province in as much as there is a criminal and administrative case filed with the Ombudsman. We are tired of the corruption of this administration done by a group close to the governor, who condoned their illegal activities.”
I don’t know if the group’s request would merit the attention of Land Bank officials. It was learned that the PB has already given the authority for Davide to re-negotiate with the LBP for the extension of the loan agreement.
I am not against Capitol’s plan to purchase these equipment because it is good for the province. It’s better to own equipment rather than lease them. But what I am questioning is how the biddings were conducted. I suspect that there are people surrounding the governor who made money from this transaction. Believe me.