MMDA chief, et al charged over failed traffic-signal bidding

By Zaff Solmerin, Business Mirror

Posted at Oct 22 2012 01:26 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2012 02:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino-owned company has filed a complaint against Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino for alleged grave abuse of discretion in declaring a failure of bidding on the P300-million traffic-signal system even if he is not allowed to make such declaration.

Also included in the complaint were Edenison Fainsan, chairman of the MMDA Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and BAC members Lydia Domingo, Amante Salvador, Rochelle Macapili-Ona and Noemi Recio, and Emerson Carlos, chairman of the “Special” BAC for the re-bidding of the project.

In a complaint filed by Efren Abratique, president of Abratique and Associates and First United Constructors Corp., before the Regional Trial Court in Makati docketed as Civil Case 12-1003, the company asked the court for a “petition for review [certiorari] with prayer for temporary restraining order [TRO] and writ of injunction” against Tolentino and six other members of BAC.

In a statement, Tolentino said: “Anybody can make accusations especially losing bidders, there is a process for this…Not a single centavo has been spent here. They want to stop the bidding so that they can get the contract. The law provides that the government reserves the right to reject all bids and accept only those advantageous to it.”

The Abratique and Associates that handled the successful traffic systems in Los Angeles, California, and the company behind the P1-billion traffic-signal system in Davao City, was recognized not only in the country but in some other countries including the United States, the complaint said.

The said company is also handling the traffic systems in some parts of Makati City.

In the complaint, The Filipino-owned company which joined the bidding for the P300-million traffic-signal system to be installed in Metro Manila, questioned the bidding process particularly when the MMDA-BAC entertained a foreign contractor that did not have a license to practice from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

The company also questioned Tolentino’s declaration contained in a memorandum dated August 6, which became the basis for the declaration of a failure of bidding of the BAC.

Abratique and Associates insisted that the law on procurement “does not allow the head procurement agency to declare failure of bidding.” The MMDA under Tolentino is the agency procuring the said traffic system.

The company also accused that the memorandum issued by respondent, Tolentino, are also the exact grounds raised by the Cube Consortium, the other bidder, in its motion for reconsideration.

“It would seem that the memorandum dated August 6, 2012, is a direct ruling of the said motion by Cube Consortium and adoption of all arguments contained therein,” the petition said.

The complainant added that the memorandum issued by Tolentino and the motion for reconsideration of their rival bidder on July 20, 2012, showed “so much similarity, both in reasoning and writing style.”

The company of Abratique reportedly submitted a bid of P295,773, 597.73, while the Cube Consortium had a bid of P298, 272,000 when the tenders were opened by the BAC.

Owing to the failure of bidding, Abratique said his company was denied the rights to be qualified, despite completing all the requirements prompting them to file a petition. – with a report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News