Friday, December 7, 2012

Bidding for Malolos' new city hall sparks controversy

Old Malolos City Hall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, – The publication of the public notice for the construction of the P350 million new city hall building has sparked more controversy than helping clear the issue surrounding its bidding process which was recalled by.Mayor Christian D. Natividad last Monday.

This after the City Government of Malolos Employes Association (CGMEA) president Danilo Valenzuela stated that  the controversial project--to be financed by a P350-Million loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines using the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) as collateral-- was published yesterday (Dec.5) in another daily paper.

Valenzuela said it is obvious that the original public bidding set last Dec. 3 was flawed for failing to comply with essential requirements of posting under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and publication in a daily newspaper of general circulation.

He alleged that Atty.Carlo Jollette Fajardo and Atty. Zaldy Mendoza, chairman and member of  the Bids and Awards Committee, respectively,  are publishing the revised ‘Notice of Bidding’, in bad faith because his petition for an ‘Injunction’ to stop the bidding for the P350-Million deal is not yet decided by Malolos Regional Trial Court Judge Grace Victoria-Ruiz.

He said the Dec. 3 decision of Judge Ruiz declaring as “moot and academic the request for a TRO” to stop the public bidding also set last Monday (Dec. 3/12noon) was due to the pre-emptive move of Mayor Natividad to recall the bidding process after succumbing to allegations of deliberately concealing the project from legitimate bidders.

Mayor Natividad, who is also a lawyer,  issued a Memorandum to the BAC early Monday morning directing the BAC to issue a 'Bulletin' to all bidders and "to repeat the bidding process."   The memorandum according to Valenzuela was a tactical maneuver that pre-empted the RTC judge from issuing a TRO.

The mayor said that he made the move to erase any doubts on the matter.

Mark Lester Santos, the BAC Secretariat head and chief of the City Personnel department, went missing the entire week prior to the scheduled bidding. Prospective bidders complained that inspite of their pleadings, staff of Santos at his department only gave out Bid Documents and Plans before the close of office hours last Thursday, Nov.29. The next three days prior to bidding were holidays.

The CGMEA president said he has also filed last Nov. 29 a criminal complaint against the three lawyers, all the BAC members, including the Land Bank before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous deal.—EMIL G. GAMOS

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