THIS is a continuation of my topic last Monday regarding the “questionable bidding” for an agency tasked to provide security at the Capitol compound and other facilities owned by the Provincial Government.

Black Pearl Security Agency, which won the bidding, took over security matters for the Capitol last June 1 after Capitol’s contract with Tactical Security and Detective Agency expired last May 31. Tactical served the Capitol during the time of former governor Gwen Garcia.

Conflict erupted last Sunday when Black Pearl guards took over the various posts from Tactical personnel based on the mere verbal order from Jone Siegfred Sepe, the newly designated officer-in-charge of the Provincial General Services Office.

Before this, Tactical, through its representative Tellie Aguilar, wrote to Sepe on May 30 seeking a month-to-month contract pending the result of the post qualification process of the Provincial Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC).

In its follow up letter on May 31, Tactical sought clarifications from Sepe based on his advice to the agency’s head guard at the Capitol compound to immediately vacate the posts. It also asked for the copy of the PBAC’s resolution, notice of award and notice to proceed to Black Pearl. But Sepe ignored the request and reiterated his verbal order for Tactical guards to leave their assignments.

There was no formal turnover. Black Pearl seems unprepared for the takeover. Their guards didn’t have guns and communication equipment. Upon follow-up by reporters, it was found out that there was no notice of award and notice to proceed to Black Pearl and the PBAC is yet to check its background.

In an interview with reporters, Provincial Attorney Orvi Ortega, the chairman of PBAC, confirmed that there was no notice of award yet and the committee will still finalize everything in its meeting today. He said they just accommodated the request of Black Pearl to take over in the meantime.

If that is the case, why was Black Pearl allowed to do so? This is also a big risk on the part of Black Pearl. What if the contract will not be awarded to it? Who will pay for the work rendered by its security guards?

If I were Sepe, I would have granted the request of Tactical for a month-to-month contract pending the results of the bidding. Nganong nagdali man siya?

In biddings, it is not necessary that the one that offered the lowest bid will get the contract. PBAC has to thoroughly check the background of bidding participants. It has to find out if these agencies are capable of dispatching 200 security guards for the various posts. Logistical support like firearms and communication equipment should be looked into, so too the financial capability of the agency.

Transacting with a government entity is not easy. You have to have huge resources, as the collection process in government takes time because of red tape.

Consider this: Tactical has a collectible from Capitol amounting to P12 million. It has an average monthly contract rate of P2.6 million. If Capitol delays payment for six months, puro abuno pa ang himoon sa Tactical.

Does Black Pearl have the financial capability to provide decent salary to its guards pending collection from the Capitol? I learned that Black Pearl should not have been allowed to participate in the bidding because it failed to submit a certificate from the Social Security System (SSS) and did not meet the requirement that an agency should have existed for five years. Black Pearl was organized only in 2011.

I smell something fishy in this transaction. That is why I am asking Gov. Junjun Davide to personally check on this. By the way, what's this I heard that even the catering services at the Capitol is being cornered by some of the governor's men? Is this “matuwid na daan”?

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)