Several officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) are facing a graft complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the MRT-3 maintenance contract recently awarded to a Korean-Filipino joint venture.
Vito Gaspar Enrico Silo, who identified himself as the Secretary General of the Alliance for Consumerism and Transparency (Action), on Tuesday said he filed the complaint before the Ombudsman.
Based on a copy of the 18-page complaint stamped “Received” by the Ombudsman on January 21, named respondents were DOTC Undersecretaries Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Gonzales in their respective capacities as head and vice-head of the DOTC-MRT 3’s negotiating team.
Also charged were members of the negotiating team — MRT-3 General Manager Roman Buenafe, Maria Karen Oildan, Rafael Penafiel, Cecilia Bien, Eugene Cecilio, Rita Caraan, Eleanor Naidas, Daniel Barrera, Arturo Din Jr., Alberto Dela Cruz, Richard Gubat, and Mike Narca.
“The Public Respondents claimed that there was a need to enter into a Negotiated Procurement in view of the two failed biddings. However, the said bidding was not posted on the website of the DOTC, the Government Electronic Procurement System (‘PhilGEPS’). Worse, the Public Respondents merely distributed the information and copies of the 447-page manual on the negotiations to selected invitees,” Silo alleged.
“It should be noted, however, that there was actually no natural or man-made calamity to justify emergency contracting,” he added.
Members of the secretariat of the negotiating team Emma Morales, Jane Abiera, Roda Espejo, Arvin Doctore, and Edward Pagsanjan were also named respondents, as well as authorized representatives of Busan Transport System Chae-gue Shim, Eugene Rapanut, Eldonn Uy, and Christian Rapanut.
The P3.81-billion maintenance deal was awarded to the group of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMICorp Inc. and Castan Corporation.
The DOTC resorted to an alternative procurement method after two failed attempts to bid out the contract in 2014 and in 2015.
“Moreover, during the first two (2) public biddings, the subject tender documents only covers three year maintenance service provider. Surprisingly, to justify further the negotiated procurement and the increase of the approved budget, the DOTC-MRT3, included in the maintenance service provider, the general overhauling of 43 units of train and total replacement of signaling,” Silo said.
He addded that the scope of work in the first two biddings covers the upgrading of the signaling system while in the negotiated procurement, it covers the total replacement of the same.
This, Silo said, was “clearly irregular” considering that the upgrading of the signaling system had already been awarded to the manufacturer Bomabardier in September 2015.
Busan should also have been disqualified for allegedly lacking the 15-year expertise requirement in the same rail industry, he added.