Budget chief denies irregularities in ASEAN hosting deal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 03 2017 12:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 03 2017 12:48 PM

MANILA – Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday procurement rules were followed when the government awarded a P2.8-billion contract to manage events during the country’s hosting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conferences this year.

Stagecraft International was the lone bidder and offered P1 billion for the project that was estimated to cost P2.88 billion, Diokno said, adding the same firm handled the country’s hosting of the larger Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2015.

“We complied with all the steps,” Diokno told a news conference in Malacanang.

Diokno said Events Organizer Network Inc. (EON), which raised the alleged irregularities, did not qualify to bid for the project.

EON can handle just one out of five aspects of the project and Ambassador Marciano Paynor, who is overseeing the preparations, wants a single contractor to handle it, Diokno said.

“Ang point ng EON, is dapat break up into five para mag-qualify sa technical. Ang may ayaw si Ambassador Paynor. He doesn’t want to talk to five people. Isa lang dapat,” Diokno said.

(EON wants to break it up into five so it can qualify. Ambassador Paynor is against it. He doesn’t want to talk to five people. He wants just one.)

This year's ASEAN summit will mark the 50th anniversary of the regional grouping. It will also be the first time for Duterte to host an international leaders' gathering since assuming office last year.