The Commission on Audit has affirmed that the purchase by ousted Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of a car worth P5 million was unlawful since it ran counter to the Government Procurement Reform Act.
State auditors said the price of the Land Cruiser at P5,110,500 was used as approved budget for the contract “without market analysis or basis to determine if it was the most advantageous prevailing price.”
The agency said the approval of the amount as the budget for the contract “prevented other suppliers from participating, thereby defeating the purpose of public bidding.”
In its four-page audit observation memorandum, CoA noted that the contract for purchase of Sereno’s service vehicle was submitted six months late to the auditor.
The procurement also lacked supporting documents.
The former chief returned the luxury car to the Supreme Court before the June 30 deadline.
Sereno’s spokesman Jojo Lacanilao said the Toyota Land Cruiser was turned over to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, a day after the SC denied with finality her motion for reconsideration seeking her reinstatement as top magistrate.
The purchase of the “luxury” sports utility vehicle formed part of the articles of impeachment against Sereno at the House of Representatives’ justice committee.
However, Congress shelved the impeachment process after a quo warranto case was filed before the Supreme Court seeking her ouster for failure to file the necessary Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth when she applied for the top job in 2012.
On May 11, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 to grant the quo warranto petition against Sereno for culpable violation of the constitution for failure to comply with the requirement for the submission of SALNs.
On Tuesday, the Court upheld with finality its decision to oust Sereno and directed the Judicial and Bar Council to begin the vetting process for chief justice post.