Town’s bidding for P6M drainage construction ‘doubtful’

By Gerome Dalipe IV

Did the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the Pavia municipal government rig the bidding for the construction of its municipal drainage worth about P6 million in 2022?

The Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the awarding of a contract for the construction of municipal drainage along Felix H. Gorriceta Jr. Avenue in Brgy. Aganan, Pavia, saying the bidding process did not conform to the procedural and documentary requirements during bid evaluation and post-qualification.

“Moreover, the award of the contract to (the winning bidder) in spite of the same discrepancy with the disqualified bidder rendered BAC’s decision questionable and the propriety of the bidding conducted doubtful,” read the COA report that was made available in 2023.

The auditors said they reviewed the disbursement papers and found that the municipality conducted the public bidding on January 17, 2022. Two contractors joined the bidding.

The BAC disqualified the first contractor for submitting an incomplete proof of ownership as evidenced by an unsigned charge invoice from the supplier of equipment.

Although the contractor offered the lowest bid for the project, the awards committee issued the notice of post-disqualification to the first contractor due to incomplete documents.

The BAC later conducted the post qualification for the second bidder and considered the latter as eligible.

However, verification by the auditors showed the bid documents submitted by the supposed winning bidder revealed that unsigned sales invoices from the suppliers supported the list of major equipment.

Since the same lacking document was cited in the first bidder, the auditors said the purported winning bidder should also be disqualified.

During post-qualification, the state auditors said the BAC shall verify, validate, and ascertain all statements made and documents submitted by the bidder with the lowest bid based on the criteria in the bidding documents.

“Premises considered, the BAC did not exercise due diligence in the conduct of post qualification of (the winning bidder),” the auditors said.

State auditors asked the municipal mayor to direct the BAC to submit a written justification relative to the irregularities in the conduct of post-qualification.

The auditors said the BAC officers should explain why the contract was still awarded to the contractor despite the glaring absence of the signed sales invoice and other pertinent documents.

Section 34.1 of the 2016 revised implementing rule of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, prescribes that the lowest calculated bid shall undergo post-qualification to determine whether the bidder concerned complies with all the requirements and conditions as specified in the bidding documents.