The Commission on Audit has flagged the Supreme Court for violation in the procurement of computer units worth P7.9 million.
In a 2017 audit report, state auditors said the Court purchased computer sets, printers, and laptops from Phi-Data Business System and Compare Corp. without a public bidding, and instead opted to undergo shopping or small-value procurement.
CoA invoked Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act stipulating shopping or small value procurement was allowed for national government agencies, such as the judiciary, as long as the amount involved did not exceed P1 million.
The high court issued different purchase orders to the same suppliers on the same date.
“It is tantamount to splitting contrary to RA 9184,” CoA said.
In a reply, the Supreme Court said the procurement was designed to implement electronic subpoena and other e-court features, a flagship program under the judiciary reform program.
It added there was an urgency to buy the P7.9-million equipment “by lot.”
“Particularly the dispensation of justice being at stake, the purchase request of the subject information technology equipment was done by lot. And for every PR, a corresponding purchase order was issued. Thus, different POs with the same date were issued incidentally to the same supplier,” the Supreme Court’s response read.
“Procurements should have been done through public bidding by bulk purchases to widen competition, instead of limiting to three suppliers only. Since shopping or small value Procurements were used, management should have invited suppliers from the regions to save on costs of freight of P193,600 which were add-ons to the prices of the suppliers for deliveries made in the regional Lower Courts,” CoA said.
It questioned the Supreme Court regarding the 30-day delivery, citing RA 9184 would only allow 26 days.
“Overall, the agency paid an excess of P1,316,305.00, as shown in Table 19, for the purchase of some of the above IT equipment contrary to Section 48.1, Rule XVI of the RA 9184 implementing rules and regulations,” CoA said.