VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. revived last Monday the issue of Capitol’s alleged splitting of contracts for the construction of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in 2007.

Sanchez gave reporters a document, presenting phase 1 and phase 2 of the project that contained an identical contract amount of P59, 611,997.92. He said this violated Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law.

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Since the Provincial Government only approved a budget of P100 million, Sanchez said the Capitol split the contract so it can be awarded to the contractor, WT Construction Inc., because it has exceeded the budget allowable.

WT Construction won the public bidding for phase one. The second phase was directly awarded to WT Construction since it is a “contiguous” project.

But Sanchez accused the Capitol of violating the law against the splitting of contracts.

“They just immediately divided the amount into two. It is impossible that the contract amount would be equal down to the last centavo,” Sanchez said in an interview yesterday.

Sought for comment, Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said the issue has long been settled.

“Bahaw naman kaayo na nga issue oy. Kung wan-a siya kasabot, pabasaha na siya ug balik (That is a very old issue. If he did not understand it, let him read again),” Sepulveda said.

“He (Sanchez), at some point, even defended the same issue,” Sepulveda added.

He said Sanchez may only be fussing about the issue because he wants to be “relevant.”

“Mubuhat nalang ug bisan unsa para ma-cover sa media,” Sepulveda said.

He said the vice governor could go to the Commission on Audit because the project has long been audited.

At the time the issue first raised in 2007, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said they could not be accused of splitting a contract because no contract could be made yet for the CICC in the first place.

As for the awarding of the contract for phase 2 to WT, Garcia said a negotiated procurement was allowed under RA 9184.

She cited Section 48, which allows the alternative method if “subject contract is adjacent or contiguous, provided that the original contract is a result of a competitive bidding.”

Garcia said work on substructure and superstructure is contiguous, and the original contract for WT was a result of a public bidding.