Further investigation of reports of alleged irregularities in transactions at the Region 12 office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Koronadal City showed that even notorious contractors get awarded with juicy projects.
After I initially revealed in this column on Monday the “bizzare” conduct of biddings at that regional office, my report was confirmed by well-placed sources.
I was even provided with information on the questionable awarding of contract to one contractor, the Saranggani Rock Mixer owned by one Catalina “Baby” Joven, who won last January 19 bidding for the road widening of General Santos Highway worth P134 million.
It turned out that Joven’s construction company has had two “slippages” or negative reports, one in Cotabato City and one in Davao del Sur, in their previous road projects but were still allowed by Regional 12 Director Reynaldo Tamayo and Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Basir Ibrahim.
Contractors with slippage or negative reports are supposed to be blacklisted and banned from participating in DPWH biddings.
According to my informants, Ibrahim allowed certain contractors he favors to peek into the bids submitted by other contractors, enabling them to change their offered prices to lower bids. This is literally rigged bidding.
Such is what allegedly took place last January 19 in the case of the P134-million road widening project on Gensan Highway, which is clearly a violation of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Act).
I say this project should be subjected to rebidding also for the reason that it was unduly awarded to Joven’s Saranggani Rock Mixer, a contractor with negative reports.
“Saan ka nakakita nang bidding na nasisilip ng ibang kontratista ang bid mo tapos babaguhin nila yung bid nila ng mas mababa? Bakit ganyan ang ipinatutupad na proseso?” one contractor told me.
My sources also said the Bids and Awards Committee proceeded with the recent bidding without the presence of an auditor from the Commission on Audit (COA).
There have been occasions when the BAC canceled a scheduled bidding of a project when BAC officials happen to “dislike” the line-up of prospective bidders.
I’ve tried to get hold of Tamayo and Ibrahim for their comments but to no avail.
In this connection, we are calling the attention of Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government, to check out these irregularities at the DPWH Region 12 Office.
Evardone, a former governor of Eastern Samar, has a sharp eye on this type of monkey business, which has no place in Matuwid na Daan.
I’ve also brought up this report with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson and we are awaiting results of his action.
Singson has touted his agency’s billions of pesos “savings” resulting from its “transparent” bidding of projects and I acknowledge that his tight-fisted administration has reduced graft in one of the most corrupted agencies.
So we await positive outcome in this controversy about the DPWH Region 12 Office.
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