Solon asks SC to nullify 5-year driver's license project

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 22 2017 01:56 PM

MANILA - A lawmaker filed with the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday a second petition that seeks to stop the implementation of the P836-million Land Transportation Office (LTO) 5-year driver's license cards project.

Lawmaker Aniceto Bertiz of ACTS OFW Party-list alleged that the project is unconstitutional because it was publicly bidded out despite the absence of legally appropriated funds under the national budget.

Bertiz cited that under the Constitution, “[n]o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law."

Bertiz accused respondents Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, Commission on Audit (COA) chair Michael Aguinaldo, LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, and winning bidder Dermalog with Nextix and CFP joint venture of grave abuse of discretion.

“There is no existing or continuing appropriations for purposes of the expenditure for the Procurement of Drivers’ License Cards With Five Year Validity CY (Calendar Year) 2017 since Congress has not enacted a law authorizing the expenditure in the form of an existing or continuing appropriation," the petition read.

Bertiz further said despite the absence of an appropriation under General Fund 101 and the 2016 General Appropriations Act, the LTO Bids and Awards Committee (LTO-BAC) proceeded with the submission and opening of bids on Jan. 31, 2017. 

The project was awarded on March 31, 2017 to the joint venture of Dermalog with Nextix and CFP with a bid amount of P829.668 million.

The lawmaker also alleged that the public bidding was “rigged and manipulated” for having “an incredulous, dubious, scandalous and unbelievable variance of a mere amount of P6,331,946.45 of the equivalent of .75% or less than 1% that arose from the difference of the bid of respondent Dermalog-Nextix-CFP in the amount of P829,668,053.55 and the [Appropriation Before Entering into Contract] of P836,000,000.”

On May 26, 2017, a similar petition was filed before the High Court by the Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines, Inc., which alleged the contract was awarded to the joint venture “in clear violation of existing procurement laws.”