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NBI-7 starts probe on Cebu City Hall’s contract with ‘unqualified caterer’

By: Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | September 11,2021 - 02:51 PM

The subpoena from the NBI-7.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) has begun its probe on the complaints of radio commentator, Arturo Barrit, over what he claimed as the anomalous awarding of a P19.5 million contract for food packages to a “favored caterer” that has no capital means to accept it.

Barrit posted on his Facebook page on Saturday, September 11, 2021, a subpoena order from NBI-7 calling him to give his statement and testify for an investigation on September 14, 2021.

He was responding to the recent statement of City Administrator Floro Casas, Jr., who said that the caterer was financially capable of delivering their end of the required services as they were able to provide the purchased food packs.

“Administrator Floro Casas Jr. presented his records on the business permit of the ‘favored’ caterer, informing among others, P2.1M…But upon checking with the online Business Permit Verification, it showed the following entry, M&R Business Permit # 141602; Capital: P50,000; Gross Income: P8.5 million; Date Assessed: March 19, 2021.”

“On this issue, an employee who knows the shebang inside city hall was recently transferred to another department. What a coincidence. Anyway, this issue will be evaluated by the NBI,” he said in his post.

The NBI-7 is seeking clarificatory on his complaints of the alleged questionable transaction entered by the Cebu City government with a private caterer.

Favored caterer?

Barrit posted on Sept. 5, 2021, that the capitalization of the food caterer, M&R Food Services owned by a certain couple, Marvin and Rhea Gillera, was only P50,000, insufficient to be granted with a P19.5 million contract.

“The declared gross income of M&R Food Services for 2021 is P8,500,000.00 – obviously indicating that all these may have come solely from the P19.5M contract it got from city hall. With insufficient capital but was able to bag a city hall deal…But ‘lo and behold, the law requires that negotiated procurement can only be entered into persons who have the financial capabilities, among others,” said Barrit in his post.

He also posted procurement papers showing the transactions between the Cebu City government and the said caterer showing that the city has shed out over P10 million in packed meals from the caterer. The biggest issued procurements were P5,014,000.00 dated December 22, 2020, and P5,436,300.00 dated January 14, 2021, respectively.

“Interestingly, there were some allegations hurled against to some enterprising city officials, stating, the collusion made to some favored catering food services and outlets such as non-delivery or ghost delivery of the items, under-delivery of packed meals as to volumes, and still others believed, delivery of de-valued packed meals,” Barrit said.

City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., in a recent statement, defended the contract saying the M&R Food Services have delivered their end of the services asked to be rendered. He insisted that the city government’s transactions would always go by the book.

In fact, M&R Food Service’s income tax return was P2.1 million, proof that they were financially capable to handle the contract, Casas said.

All the pack meals were also distributed to medical front liners and patients in the City-managed isolation and quarantine facilities as well as hospitals, and to the police personnel deployed at the checkpoints.

The funds used for the packed meals were from the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) and City Health Department (CHD) in 2020 and in 2021.

Casas also released the purchase orders of pack meals that the city has released to the caterer since 2020 amounting to P17.3 million.

In 2020, the city purchased 11,933 food packs on June 18 amounting to P1.2 million, 7,000 packs on June 29 for P700,000, 10,500 packs on July 8 for P1 million, 9,100 packs on July 17 for P910,000, and 50,140 packs on December 23 for P5 million.

In 2021, the city purchased 54,363 food packs on January 28 for P5.4 million, 17,896 packs on March 23 for P1.8 million, 4,160 packs on April 5 for P562,480, 3,150 packs on June 29 for P315,000, and 1,711 packs on July 12 for P285,097.      /rcg

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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu City hall, food packs, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI-7

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