Palace distances Duterte from ally's firm as it faces 2022 election concerns

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2021 02:38 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2021 05:08 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte applauds after awarding the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Global Excellence Award to Udenna Corporation President Dennis Uy during the concluding ceremonies of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) at the Manila Hotel, Oct. 18, 2018. Simeon Celi, Jr., Malacanang Photo/File 
President Rodrigo Duterte applauds after awarding the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Global Excellence Award to Udenna Corporation President Dennis Uy during the concluding ceremonies of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) at the Manila Hotel, Oct. 18, 2018. Simeon Celi, Jr., Malacanang Photo/File 

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday distanced President Rodrigo Duterte from F2 Logistics Philippines Inc, which could potentially handle the deployment of equipment for the 2022 elections, and whose owner is a perceived ally of the current administration. 

The Commission on Elections said on Wednesday it was checking concerns of poll watchdog Kontra Daya, which said the firm's ties with Davao tycoon Dennis Uy was a "red flag." 

Uy was the fourth largest campaign donor to Duterte's 2016 presidential bid, contributing P30 million. 

The Comelec has "the sole power to conduct elections," including the award of contracts, said the President's spokesman Harry Roque. 

"Wala pong kinalaman ang Presidente d’yan. Comelec po 'yan," he said in a press briefing. 

(The President has nothing to do with that. That's on Comelec.)

A Comelec committee in late July declared F2 Logistics as having the lowest calculated bid for the P1.61-billion deployment of poll equipment, peripherals, forms, supplies, paraphernalia, and warehousing for next year's elections. 

Comelec said F2 will undergo a post-qualification process before it officially bags the contract. 

But Kontra Daya said "awarding P1.61 billion to a publicly known Duterte crony is unacceptable, and making him responsible for an important election task is unconscionable."

However, Abas stressed that being a contributor to Duterte's campaign does not automatically make a firm "disqualified" from delivering the service. 

"Alam naman natin na karamihan ng mga negosyanteng malalaki nagko-contribute naman 'yan sa iba't ibang [candidates]... depende 'yan sa GPPB (Government Procurement Policy Board) policy sa post-qualification," Abas said.

(We know that most big businessmen contribute to various candidates. That depends on the GPPB policy on the post-qualification.)

While Uy has not publicly confirmed or denied his ownership of F2 Logistics, ABS-CBN News has obtained an annual report of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2020, where it listed F2 Logistics as a subsidiary of Udenna Management & Resources Corp., under the parent company Udenna Corporation in which Uy sits as chairman and president. 

A Wall Street Journal profile also listed Uy as chairman at F2 Logistics. 

 Video courtesy of PTV