Poblete: We should pursue rebidding of CCMC project
Cebu City Engineer Jose Marie Poblete said he wants to proceed with the rebidding of the construction contract for the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) project as soon as possible.
He told the City Council in yesterday’s executive session that he has not yet received an order from Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama about an announced plan to revamp the composition of the special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for the CCMC project.
He said he will follow up the matter with Rama.
“If I’m still the (BAC) chairman, it’s incumbent upon me to proceed with the rebidding process,” he told the council.
As recommended by City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo, the new CCMC bids committee would have the same members with Poblete there, except for Councilor Mary Ann De los Santos because she is an elected official and not a plantilla personnel.
The rebidding could involve a bigger contract amount of about P600 million after Rama said the city would use use appropriations of the city as well as donations and pledges from the private sector.
Mayor Michael Rama, in a letter response drafted by the city legal office, said he ordered the first bidding scrapped as a failure because of the need to “address issues raised” in the initial bidding for Phase 1 and “to avoid or preclude any suspicion of favoritism and anomalies.”
He said he wanted “all interested and qualified an contractors/bidders” an equal chance to take part in the rebidding.
The Cebu City Council yesterday called on the mayor’s office to disclose his order appointing members to a new BAC for Infrastructure as well as the special BAC for CCMC.
The council yesterday asked why, after a failure of bidding was declared in November last year, the BAC didn’t push through with the post-qualification of the second lowest bidder as provided by law.
Poblete said that before the mayor issued the memo, there was a report from the technical working group to proceed with post-qualification of the second lowest bidder.
“When we discussed it among the BAC members, some members had reservations about some documents submitted. So we asked the lowest bidder to submit some documents. But before they were able to submit the additional documents, the order came out. It superseded the post-qualification process,” Poblete told the council.
He said based on the mayor’s memorandum to review and revisit the BAC composition, they understood it as saying that the BAC was already dissolved to pave way for a new one.
Poblete agreed with Mayor Rama’s opinion that the mayor is authorized to declare a failure of bidding and not just the BAC.
Poblete cited section 41 of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act which reserves the mayor’s right as “head of the procuring entity” to declare a failure of bidding.
The second lowest bidder filed a complaint and threatened to sue the mayor for scrapping the bidding as “highly irregular” and for “pressuring” the BAC to favor a particular bidder.
Mayor Rama, in a draft letter response to Architect Henry Steve Olonan, managing officer of the SCDI-MCEI joint venture, said his decision to declare a failure of bidding was meant to keep the proceeding fair.
He said his Memorandum Order No. 20142435 “is intended to give all interested and qualified contractors/bidders the fresh and equal opportunity to participate in the rebidding process which will be conducted strictly in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.”
SCDI-MCEI Joint venture submitted the second lowest calculated bid price of P281 million last year. Its bid was being evaluated by the BAC after the lowest bidder WTG Constrcution and A.M. Oreta and Co. was post-disqualified due to discrepancies in their bid documents.
Rama said his lawyer son Mikel is preparing a separate postion paper on the issue.
Rama said Section 41 of the Government Procurement Law gives him, as head of the procuring entity, the right to reject any and all bids, declare a failure of bidding or not to ward the contract.”
He said he acted in a “valid and lawful exercise of that right.”
Aside from declaring a failure of bidding, the mayor’s memorandum also ordered for a review of the BAC composition even as they were still post-qualifying the next candidate, SCDI-MCEI.
Rama cited the need “to address the issues raised” about the initial bidding for Phase 1 and “to avoid or preclude any suspicion of favoritism and anomalies.”
He didn’t give details. A rebidding of the project was ordered.
In his letter, the mayor said he can’t “with clean conscience” allow the initial bidding process to conclude while “serious and valid” concerns have been raised as to the compliance of the BAC for Infrastructure to the bidding procedures and the BAC composition itself.
“I strongly believe that I owe it to my constituents and to all benefactors that every centavo they contributed for the construction of the CCMC is properly accounted for and that the entire process leading to its completion must be, like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach,” Rama said.
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