A party-list lawmaker on Monday sought a congressional inquiry into the decision of the Land Transportation Office to award an almost P1-billion contract for the Procurement of Motor Vehicle License Plates next year despite the alleged irregularities in its bidding process.
In a privilege speech, ACTS OFW Party-List Rep. Aniceto John Bertiz III urged Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to nullify the awarding of the P998,800,000-LTO license plate project to the lowest bidder, the Trojan Computer Forms/J.H. Tonnjes East GmbH.
Bertiz said the nearly P1-billion contract was not only allegedly rigged and manipulated, but was also void from the start since the P998,800,000 needed for the procurement of license plates was not included in this year’s P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Act.
“In the spirit of transparency and in line with the government’s fight against corruption, it is imperative that we look into the governmental processes involved in the production of these motor vehicles and motor license plates, determine if there are instances of corruption and help eliminate it accordingly,” Bertiz said in his speech.
Bertiz said the provisions of Section 25, paragraph 4 of the revised implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (RA) 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act were allegedly violated after the opening of the bids.
He said the “mandatory 45 calendar day rule as the maximum period for the completion of the proceedings from the last posting of the Invitation to Bid up to the opening of the bids provided” was violated.
Besides, Bertiz said the planned procurement allegedly infringes the constitutional powers of Congress in unlawfully using the General Fund because there is no appropriation for the said project.
While the General Fund can be used by agencies and instrumentalities of the government for their expenditures, there should be a previously enacted law authorizing the expenditure in the form of an existing or continuing appropriations which continue to remain valid as an appropriation authority for the expenditure of public funds, he said.
Nevertheless, Bertiz said there has been no existing or continuing appropriations for purposes of the expenditure for the Procurement of Vehicle License Plates For CY 2017, adding that the appropriation in the GAA 2017 under the heading of “Motor Vehicle Registration and Driver’s Licensing Regulatory Services” cannot include the procurement of license plates since “motor vehicle registration” is distinctly different from the procurement of license plates.
“Despite the LTO’s failure and refusal to address the issues raised regarding the absence of funding and the public bidding was allegedly rigged and manipulated, the LTO proceeded with the opening of bids on September 13, 2017,” Bertiz said.
“Since 2013, the OFWs, like the rest of our people, have been complaining about the unprecedented delays on not just the vehicle plates, but also the driver’s license,” Bertiz added.
Bertiz also stressed that the lowest bid of Trojan Computer Forms/J.H. Tonnjes East GmbH in the amount of P978,800 or a mere P19,200 difference from the P998,00 amount of the project was highly questionable.
The two other bidders were iPay Commerce Enterprise, EHA Hoffman International GmbH and Madras Security Printers Private Limited Joint Venture and the disqualified Utsch AG/Holy Family Printing Corporations Joint Venture.
“I think it is very important to call on the LTO to revisit the aforementioned public bidding to ensure that the proper legal processes were adhered to,” said Bertiz. “The awarding of the contract has to be stopped.”