During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) hearing on the controversial overpriced laptops procured, Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Thursday (September 15) revealed that there had been a practice of “repeat orders” and “split contracts” in the procurement of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Estrada noted that it could violate the Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.
“In the case of these suppliers, why did we not just bid for the goods in a single lot?” Estrada questioned, as he said that he had noticed that DepEd’s past contracts have Advance Solutions, Inc. or ASIA, Columbia Technologies, Inc., Reddot Imaging Philippines, Inc., Techguru Inc., and Girltekki, Inc. as the usual suppliers for the Information Technology (IT) needs of the said department.
“Was there a lack of planning here or was the DepEd deliberately dividing the contract so that it can use repeat orders as an alternative mode of procurement?” Estrada asked.
DepEd Director Abram Abanil said that the reason why these companies are the ones usually winning the bid, he said that “because they have submitted the lowest bids.”
However, Estrada said that the education department could’ve welcomed new players to join the bidding to facilitate better competition and level the playing field, and in order to avoid “repeat orders” in favor of these companies.
“The effect of a repeat order is that it dispenses with the need of undergoing public bidding again. In the case of these suppliers, why did we not just bid for the goods in a single lot?” Estrada said.
“My point is that we should be more welcoming of new players since that would make for better competition. But don’t you think we are discouraging these new players from participating in government biddings if they are being singled out for investigation?” Estrada further pointed out.
Meanwhile, BRC chair Senator Francis Tolentino and minority leader Senator Aquilino Pimentel III that the issue could be further reviewed for possible amendments to the procurement law. -Marvin Joseph Ang/ Yahoo News!