MANILA, Philippines – The awarding of the Cavite-Laguna expressway (CALAX) project has been suspended indefinitely due to a pending resolution of the appeal filed by disqualified bidder San Miguel Corp. (SMC) before the Office of the President.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the project will be awarded after a resolution of the appeal of SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. is issued.
“(The) appeal has to be resolved first. That is their right to appeal directly with the Office of the President and there is nothing we can do,” Singson said.
He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is ready to defend its decision in disqualifying SMC for violating several provisions of the bidding rules.
“We will answer them when we get their appeal memorandum,” he said.
Ayala Corp. and AboitizLand’s Team Orion submitted the highest bid of P11.66 billion, followed by Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) MPCALA Holdings Inc. with P11.33 billion, and Malaysian-owned Alloy MTD Philippines with P922 million.
SMC, disqualified for violating the provision on bid security, claimed that its bid for the government’s largest public private partnership (PPP) project was P20 billion.
In its 37-page Notice of Appeal filed on June 27, SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure said its disqualification from the bidding process "needlessly prejudices" private participation in public infrastructure projects just because of an "inadvertent and harmless typographical error (which was later on clarified and corrected)."
"As such, this decision defeats the constitutional policy of encouraging private sector participation in national development, as well as the declared policy of the Amended BOT Law. This Honorable Office should not allow this blatant error to remain uncorrected," the disqualified bidder added.
On June 30, DPWH was directed by the Office of the President to defer the implementation of the resolution while the appeal is still pending.