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Capitol Aircon Purchase Controversy
« on: October 18, 2016, 05:02:25 PM »
Capitol Aircon Purchase Controversy
Published on October 8, 2006 - Bohol Standard

With the final over-all cost of the controversial Capitol air-conditioning project for the Bohol Cultural Center now partially accounted, those who were offered as “sacrificial lambs” in a frantic effort to cleanse the graft tag in government procurements, found themselves vindicated.

The total cost of the project had overshot the original program of work estimated cost that was earlier dubbed as anomalous and grossly overpriced.

Records from the General Services Office (GSO) revealed that the cost had reached a total of P3,757,669.00, higher than the last revised amount of P3,748,000.00.

The breakdown of the cost listed: air-con units P2,075,940 (Koppel-Feeders), air-con installation P281,000 (Galos RAC), electrical materials (Herbert Malmis) P996,898, drill bits P10,173, additional electrical materials P283,958, and labor for electrical work (by administration) P108,700.

This does not include the cost for the additional power service lines and purchase of transformers to carry a bigger electricity load required by the power provider Bohol Light Co, Inc. estimated at P1.3-M.

GSO said this record is still to be obtained from the accounting office.

The total cost has now ballooned into P5-M which negates what was earlier announced as “savings”; this despite cost revisions were made, local suppliers banned, scheduled biddings cancelled and numerous resolutions of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) were repeatedly amended.

An influential group reportedly influenced the actions of BAC.

BIGGEST CASUALTY
The biggest casualty in the air-con project controversy was the eventful transfer of GSO chief Engr. Edwin Vallejos to the provincial engineering office.

Some members of the BAC were also stripped of their functions and reshuffled.

The public pronouncements of Capitol Legal Officer Atty. Handel Lagunay that a team will be created “to dig deeper into the issue “also turned out all sound, no fury”.

The controversy simply fizzled to a natural death, Capitol observers said.

In an earlier interview, the relieved General Services Office chief said he would wish for the release of the probe’s finding on the alleged over-pricing attempt in the Capitol air-con buy to clear the issue and to vindicate the innocent.

Vallejos, however, said he harbors no ill-feeling resulting from his transfer from the GSO top post to the provincial engineer’s office as acting head.

“It was my decision as I felt the effects of unfounded reports of alleged corruptions involving my office already hurting my family. I personally requested the Governor that I be transferred to another office,” Vallejos said.

REFORMS
Vallejos told the Bohol Standard that corruption raps directed against his office is understandable since many still does not know how the new law R.A. 9184, known as the Government Reformed Procurement Act, has changed the set-up and the mode of purchasing government supplies and services.

His name and signature no longer appears in the approval of the purchase request and it is the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that now exercises the final authority to award or even reject bids in a procurement process, the erstwhile GSO chief explained.

Vallejos troubles begun when stories were circulated that the estimated P4.7-million air-con project for the Bohol Cultural Center is already a “done deal” with a favored local supplier.

The reports came at a time when Aumentado was out of the country, joining the team of Pres. Arroyo in a trip to Europe.

The done deal was allegedly entered into with local supplier, Sammy’s Air-conditioning owned by Engr. Prex Tumabang, in collusion with GSO officials.

Seen by many as a “knee-jerk” reaction, the BAC committee, based only on hearsay and with no probative value, cancelled the scheduled bidding for 18 air-conditioning units that was supposed to be participated by local dealers.

Opting for a limited source bidding, BAC offered the aircon units purchase exclusively for Manila-based suppliers, eventually won by Feeders-Koppel at a bid price of P2.03-million for 18 air-conditioning units of Ten (10) 10TR (toner) and Eight (8) units for 7.5TR (toner)) through negotiated purchase..

Popular impression now had become real as predicted earlier by experts in the air-conditioning business.

“In the end, the total cost would amount more than what was earlier suspected as overly overpriced project estimate,” they said.

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