THE chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee that is looking into the alleged anomalies in the P3.8-billion motor vehicle license plates standardization program of the Land Transportation Office admitted having doubts on the capability of the supplier chosen by the Department of Transportation and Communication to carry out the program.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said that based on the information he obtained regarding the backgroundsof J. Knieriem BV- Goes (JKG) and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. (PPI) it shows that the multibillion-peso license plates contract was the only big ticket project that the joint venture have secured so far.
Ejercito wants to know if the DOTC observed due diligence during the post qualification stage of the bidding process particularly in determining the financial capability of the joint venture of JKG-PPI.
He pointed that the delay on the deliveries of license plates the LTO is experiencing could be happening because of the inability of the supplier to manufacture huge volume of license plates due to funding issue.
According to Ejercito PPI, the local partner of JKG, was only involved in the manufacture of commemorative plates and as far as he knows the firm never handled big projects.
A Manila Times source claimed that PPI was not allowed to join the bidding process in the past because of its alleged involvement in the manufacture of fake license plates.
As for the JKG, Ejercito said he sees no major projects on its record, in fact, the only project it is has so far is the P3.8 billion MVLPSP which is posted on its website.
“What is the track record of these companies? Given the amount public funds involve in this project I believes that due diligence should have been observed,” the Senator said.
The Blue Ribbon sub-committee already summoned the officials of the JKG-PPI in the next hearing after failing to attend the Senate inquiry for the twice.
In the recent sub-panel hearing, Ejercito raised the issue on the suppliers’ capability and if the DOTC was able to thoroughly check of the companies are really capable in providing millions of license plates to the LTO.
Transportation Undersecretary Jose Lotilla, failed to present documents that would show the track record of the suppliers but maintained that proper steps were taken in the selection process.
“At the end of the day the final test as we say is the proof of the pudding is in the eating and as long as they can deliver what was required to them it is acceptable,” Lotilla said.
LTO chief, Assistant Secretary Alfonso Tan recently admitted having shortage on the supply of plates but blamed it on the supposed sudden surge on the license plates demand.
The LTO, during the hearing, also was not able to provide the committee figures on the volume of license plates JKG-PPI managed to deliver.
The notice to proceed was issued by the DOTC-LTO to JKG-PPI on February 2014, and according to the bid documents the supplier should have supplied at more than four million sets of motor vehicles license plates.