5 DepEd Benguet Officials charged for graft

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Five officials of the Department of Education–Benguet Schools Division are now facing charges of grave abuse of authority, conduct unbecoming of an officer, violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Law and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for alleged questionable actions in the bidding of the upgrading of electrical systems in various schools within the jurisdiction of the said office.

In his 4-page affidavit complaint filed before the Ombudsman, Salvador Liked, Secretary-General of the Cordillera Chapter of the Citizens Crime Watch (CCW-CAR), named the respondents as Nestor Bolayo, chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); Glenn N. Duguis, BAC vice chairman and Lucio B. Alawas, Florabel Buclay and Jeanette Kiong.

The complainant disclosed that on July 2, 2018, the BAC of the Benguet Schools Division bidded out a project entitled “Upgrading of electrical system on various school sites – 2018 BEFF Electrification Batch 1 (Lot 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6)”.

He claimed that Lots 2 and 6 were eventually awarded to QPJ General Engineering Construction and Supply, and Lot 4 was awarded to the lone bidder, Begal Design and Construction.

However, in Lot 1, 2, 3 and 5, after post evaluation, the lowest calculated bidder WWW Construction was allegedly disqualified wherein the next lowest calculated bid will be post evaluated.

The complainant alleged that the BAC members maliciously did not conduct the required post evaluation on the second lowest bidder in Lot 1, 3 and 5 and just allegedly ordered a re-bidding of Lot 1, 3 and 5.

On September 26, 2018, Liked claimed that the BAC bidded out the project upgrading of electrical system on various school sites – 2018 BEFF Electrification Batch 1 (Lot 1, 3 and 5).

According to him, in Lot 3, the lowest calculated bid was QPJ General Construction and Supply but was disqualified for the reason that the percentage of accomplishments was low given that the company was awarded by other agencies months ago, thus, it created doubt within the BAC that if the project was given to the company, the project will suffer serious delay though numerous projects aligned with the firm were completed.

Liked questioned the business of the BAC in disqualifying QPJ General Construction and Supply invoking low percentage of accomplishments and not negative slippages if there were and that there was no low percentage of accomplishment when the BAC awarded the project Lot 1,2 and 6 to the company.

The complainant argued that in Lot 1, 3 and 5, Summerline Construction and Development Corporation was post-disqualified based on the notice of post-disqualification dated November 5, 2018 but what is highly questionable was the fact that in Lot 3, the company was the third lowest calculated bid among the 3 bidders that raises the question on why did the BAC not post-evaluate Legal Design and Construction which was the second lowest calculated bid.

On the other hand, in Lot 5, Legal Design and Construction submitted the lowest calculated bid but how come that it was Summerline Construction and Development Corporation that was the first to be post-evaluated meaning that Legal Design and Construction was disqualified, hence, the BAC went on to post Summerline thereby casting doubts on the BAC’s action on whether it falls within the bounds of the law.

Copies of the complaint were furnished the Secretary of the Department of Education, the Regional Director of the agency and the Commission on Audit for their references and future actions that will be warranted from them.

Bolayo explained that the BAC decision on the assailed project was done in good faith but what is evident was that the filing of the complaint and copy furnished several government agencies is an obvious fishing expedition because of the supposed insufficient evidence provided in the complaint.

“We were able to receive a copy of the complaint recently but we have yet to receive the corresponding summons from the concerned authorities for us to formally answer the complaint, thus, we were constrained to refer our copies of the complaint to our legal officer for review and to provide us the needed advise on the next steps to undertake for us to be cleared on the issue,” Bolayo stressed.

He explained that the timely implementation of the upgrading of the electrical system of various schools in the province was aimed at providing the needed conducive learning environment for the children that is why the BAC tried its best to work within the ambit of the law to bid out the project for implementation to address the problems of the electrical systems of schools.

Bolayo admitted having received telephone calls from his friends in other government agencies where the complaint was furnished but the BAC members will be answering the complaint with the assistance of their legal officer when formally ordered to do so by the investigating agency.

Bolayo emphasized that the filing of the complaint against them should not be geared towards ruining their reputation as employees of the education department but it should be done to ferret out the truth on the questioned public bidding of the project considering that they do not want the members of their families to suffer from the effects of the supposed trial by publicity.

By HENT

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