Ifugao lone district Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. on Monday sought a review of Republic Act (RA) 9184 after the whistleblower on a multibillion helicopter scam exposed another allegedly manipulated bidding again at the Department of National Defense (DND).
“We will review the Procurement Law [Government Procurement Reform Act] with the purpose of correcting the loopholes. We cannot continue this questionable practice like what Miss Alvarez has been saying,” Baguilat told a news forum at The Manila Hotel.
Alvarez is Rhodora Alvarez, who had blown the whistle on the P1.2-billion chopper deal.
Baguilat was referring to the more than P684-million contract for military drones that was posted on the DND website last July 29 (Friday) but was bidded out on August 1 (Monday) and issued a Notice of Award (NOA) on the same day.
Alvarez told The Manila Times, “My main purpose here is to correct the system of doing the procurement process which is being manipulated by the people in the government.”
Her helicopter expose resulted in a plunder case filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against then-Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and several others, including private individuals.
Under the chopper deal, the 21 UH-1Hs or Huey helicopters that had been bought turned out to be second-hand choppers.
Despite the expose, the Aquino administration still approved the purchase.
In the drone bidding, Alvarez could not give exact details of the transaction, saying she is in the dark about it but said she only wanted to stop the alleged irregularity of the deal.
“I am exposing this to relay to President Rodrigo Duterte that something irregular is now happening with the DND’s acquisition of military equipment. I think even the new Defense secretary does not know that something fishy is happening in his office,” she added.
Alvarez said she suspects that the drone acquisition is still part of the military modernization program approved during the previous administration.
“It’s business as usual at the DND. It’s the same scheme, short notice and short delivery period. Everything is approved in haste,” she added.
According to her, the drone project is part of strengthening of the capability of the Philippine Marines.
Alvarez said President Duterte is right in saying that the lowest bidder is not necessarily the one that offers the best bid.
Referring to her latest expose, she noted that the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps) website showed a posting last July 29 regarding an Invitation to Bid (ITB) with reference number 3971300 and Solicitation # 04213531 coming from the DND.
The bid was about the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) Acquisition Project with an approved budget cost of P684,230,000.00.
Alvarez said she was taken aback upon seeing on the same website a notice that said “Please be informed that the bidding process for this project is already finished. This is only for compliance of posting of NOA and NTP [Notice to Proceed].”
She said the posting was done by a certain Amelia M. Garrero, an executive assistant of DND Bidding and Awards Committee Secretariat who retired in January 2014.