Friday, September 17, 2021

Garcia’s chief of staff denies any flaw in noodle purchase

AN OFFICIAL of the Cebu Provincial Government has denied any irregularity in their purchase of 6,500 boxes of instant noodles that was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for costing more than their original order.

In a statement, lawyer Frank Edward Dinsay V, chief of staff of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, said the Province purchased Lucky Me noodles worth P3.4 million, instead of the Quickchow noodles that were set at the price of P2.8 million, as an “emergency purchase” as these were purchased at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

COA has released the results of its audit on the Provincial Government in 2020. It has called out Capitol for its purchase of instant noodles from the private supplier amounting to P3.4 million, which was 20.6 percent higher than the approved allotment of P2.8 million.

“The urgent need for noodles constrained the Provincial Government of Cebu to purchase Lucky Me noodles at a time when Cebuanos were greatly affected by the pandemic,” Dinsay said.

Dinsay said their initial order of Quickchow noodles from Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) was cancelled because it could “not make good with its commitment to deliver the requirement of the Province.”

He said Capitol conducted a canvass for the Quickchow noodles from other suppliers but they too could not meet Capitol’s requirement.

“Just the same, the procurement of the Lucky Me noodles went through the procurement process that merited its award to MRSGI that posted the lowest price, well within the ceiling set by the Department of Trade and Industry at that time,” Dinsay said.

He also said the report made by COA that the Province’s Bids and Awards Committee accommodated an amendment to order is “erroneous.”

“It is erroneous to state that there was an Amendment to Order that bypassed the Governor because it was signed by the Provincial Administrator,” Dinsay said.

He said: “An Amendment to Order and a Purchase Order are two very different documents. One amends the initial order of the Province, while the other indicates the items to be purchased (and it) is used as a guide by the supplier. What was signed by the provincial administrator was only a Purchase Order.”

The provincial administrator’s authority to sign was delegated by the governor, Dinsay said.

He also clarified that the expired Quickchow noodles—found by state auditors in the course of their annual auditing—were replaced and the items were delivered to the Province on Oct. 19, 2020. (JKV)


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