• Fil-Korean joint venture willing to face probe


    THE joint venture of BUSAN-EDC on Wednesday said it is willing to face any investigation in connection with its participation in the bidding for the maintenance contract for Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT 2) to prove that it did not commit any anomaly.

    Charles Mercado, spokesman for the joint venture, decried the “persecution” of his company after it won a three-year contract for the service maintenance of LRT 2.

    Oliver San Antonio, spokesman of the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC), earlier called on Malacañang and other “higher authorities” to look into the LRT 2 bidding process.

    Mercado said the joint venture is ready for “any probe, any time.”

    “As we have stated before, we welcome any official probe as it would establish who has been factual and truthful and who has been ‘twisting the truth’ regarding this issue all along especially in relation to the bidding rules,” he said.

    Mercado said they were surprised when “sliced and spliced” details of their tender for the maintenance contract started to appear in the media last month, apparently in an effort by some quarters to discredit the joint venture’s reputation and force the Department of Transportation and Communication to stop the awarding of the contract.

    Mercado said these revelations were in blatant violation of the “confidentiality clause” embedded in the bidding rules.

    When the bids for the contract were opened in April this year, Busan/EDC was found to have submitted the lowest bid of P1,010,856,888.

    The tender translates to a savings of P143,954,673 for the government based on the approved budget for the contract of P1,154,811,561.83.

    “My client’s offer is vastly beneficial to the government compared to the next lowest bid of another bidder, the joint venture of APT/Global, CB&T and Miescorail, which submitted a bid of P1,148,324,712.50 or only P6.5 million less than the ABC,” Mercado said.

    “Is this why my client and the LRT-BAC are now both being demolished in the media? Because our offer frustrated the design by some quarters who want to hold on to the LRT-2 maintenance contract for as long as they can?” he asked.

    He called on DOTC officials to investigate Rogelio T. Cabanilla, a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG), who he said could have been the source of the confidential information on the bidding process.

    “For the information of (DOTC) Secretary Abaya and Pres. (Benigno) Aquino whom the NCFC wants to intervene in the controversy they created, Engr. Cabanilla, an employee of the DOTC, already has a pending complaint for graft and corrupt practices before the Ombudsman for a case of “conflict of interest. It appears that his son and wife are long-time employees of APT Global, the current maintenance provider of LRT-2 who lost to my client in the bidding,” Mercado said.

    Mercado debunked the NCFC’s claim that the LRT contract was “renewed” in favor of BUSAN-EDC.

    “The claim is misleading because this is the first time that my client participated in the bidding so there’s no renewal of the contract to speak of. In point of fact, it was the contract between LRT-2 and the original maintenance provider, APT Global, that has been renewed several times already under highly questionable circumstances. If there is a probe to be made, it should properly start with the repeated renewal of APT Global’s contract. Bakit pulos ‘renewal’ na lang at walang nangyaring bidding,” he added.


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