Tuesday, April 12, 2016

COA issues strong audit observation memo on Marinduque midnight loan bids

COA issues strong audit observation memorandum on PGM projects related to P300-million midnight loan with DBP



Even as the case filed in the Makati Regional Trial Court by Marinduque taxpayers to nullify a loan contract between PGM and DBP remains active, the provincial government of Marinduque appears to relentlessly pursue the loan just a few weeks away from the May 9, 2016 polls.

To the extent that existing rules and regulations of RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) appear to be ignored or blatantly violated by those concerned, the Commission on Audit (COA), was prompted to issue an audit observation memorandum (AOM No. 15-06), addressed to Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes.

According to COA the winning bidders/suppliers of infrastructure projects, office supplies, furniture and fuxtures, medical supplies and heavy equipment failed to submit the complete eligibility documents, "rendering bidders as ineligible thereby affecting the legality of contracts with the Province questionable and doubtful".

COA has cited several provisions of the RIRR of RA 9184 that have not been followed in an apparent attempt by the province to rush the bidding process. COA disclosed that "certain bidders/suppliers were awarded contracts despite their failure to submit the complete eligibility requirement". 

In the case of one bidder that was awarded a contract, COA plainly stated that "it appeared that information provided by the bidder to the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), as projects completed is bogus". This, in addition to apparent "failure of the concerned bidder to file and pay correct income tax to the BIR". 

In the case of another bidder COA disclosed that "the BAC should have declared him ineligible during the post-qualification process". The said bidder "submitted tax clearances which are not in the list of released tax clearances for bidding purposes of the BIR thus, their authenticity appeared to be doubtful".

Still another construction firm "failed to submit Tax Clearance during bidding of "Furnishing of Labor, Materialss, and Equipment for the Construction of Various Farm to Market Roads, Gasan and Torrijos, Marinduque" based on checklist of technical documents signed by the members of the BAC.

COA stated thus, "The BAC should have required him to submit Tax Clearance as one of his Class "A" legal documents, otherwise he should be declared ineligible or disqualified".

COA minced no words in stating that to avoid disallowance in audit, "the BAC and the Technical Working Group be required to submit their basis for rating the aforementioned legal, technical, and financial documents submitted by the bidders as "Passed" during preliminary evaluation, evaluation, and post-qualification considering they appeared to be ineligible". 

The AOM was issued by Geronima G. Tan, Audit Team Leader, OIC, Supervising Auditor, COA, Province of Marinduque.

Meanwhile, a former provincial official quipped upon learning of this development that, "those government officials concerned are not afraid to violate these laws anymore, knowing it could take decades for graft practices to be decided, if cases could be initiated at all, in the first place." 

"Our fellow Marinduquenos should be able to realize by now what's hitting them in the head over and over again for many years already", the said official added.

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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