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Comelec en banc to discuss relaxed bid terms

Posted on: March 31, 2009

Comelec en banc to discuss relaxed bid terms

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:14:00 03/31/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Technology (general)

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc would decide whether or not it would seek formal opinion from the General Procurement and Policy Board (GPPB) on the relaxed eligibility requirement for bidders of the 2010 poll automation project, an official said Tuesday.

In an interview, Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Ferdinand Rafanan said a meeting would discuss bidder Indra Systems’ suggestion to get ruling from the GPBB on the amended eligibility terms.

“Whether or not we will seek legal or formal opinion from GPPB [in support of our amendment], nasa amin iyon (it is for us to decide) because the SBAC crafted the amendment according to the law,” said Rafanan.

Rafanan said Section 22.5.3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9184 noted that “the Comelec has the authority to amend the bid documents until April 20, a week before the opening of the bids and this is unilateral.”

“To qualify, a bidder must have a previous contract worth P5.6 billion in the last three years and this is restricted to IT projects only because it must be similar in nature to the Comelec automation project. Mabigat na requirement ito (This is a heavy requirement) so we try to prevent failure of bidding or monopoly resulting from these,” Rafanan added.

During last week’s pre-bid conference, Rafanan has said that for a firm to join the automation bid, “it must be in existence for at least three consecutive years prior to advertisement of the contract and has completed three projects similar in magnitude and nature with a total amount equal to half of the P11.2 billion, of which the largest contract is 25 percent of the total amount of the Comelec automation project.”

The original eligibility terms, said Rafanan, required bidders “to have a previous contract similar in magnitude and nature amounting to half of P11.2 billion amount of the Comelec automation project.”

Also during the pre-bid conference, Indra Systems counsel Aris Batuhan said while the company respects the amendment, they urged the SBAC to get advice from the Comelec en banc on whether to get a GPPB ruling on amendments to the eligibility requirements.

Batuhan said having GPPB support the SBAC decision “will prevent any litigation that may delay the project.”

In a separate interview, Comelec Advisory Council chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III said seeking a formal GPPB ruling on the eligibility amendment “will give SBAC some protection against litigation.”

“Of course, while a GPPB ruling [on the eligibility amendment] will not prevent anyone from filing legal challenges in the future, it will provide SBAC a better defense,” said Roxas-Chua III, who also chairs the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.

Terms of the relaxed eligibility were published in the third supplemental bid bulletin approved by the en banc and promulgated on March 24.

Copyright 2009 INQUIRER.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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