Ayala-Aboitiz tandem wants to participate in Palace Calax inquiry
MANILA, Philippines – Team Orion, the tandem of conglomerate Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, asked Malacañang to be allowed to participate in the ongoing investigation into the P35.4-billion ($812.99 million*) Cavite-Laguna expressway project bidding.
Team Orion submitted a motion to intervene to the Office of the President and had informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corporation (PDEX), Ayala Managing Director Jose Eric Francia said.
On June 30, Malacañang issued a “stay order” preventing the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from implementing a resolution dated June 11 disqualifying Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) from the bidding for the public-private partnership (PPP) project.
“The motion is being sought by the consortium to allow it to participate in any proceedings to be conducted in connection with the stay order imposed by the Office of the President on the disqualification of one of the bidders by the DPWH,” Francia stated in the letter dated July 10.
The Calax project involves the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-km closed-system toll expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway.
DPWH indefinitely suspended the awarding of Calax to Team Orion, which submitted on June 13 a concession payment of P11.66 billion ($267.83 million).
Disqualified Optimal Infrastructure offered P20.11 billion ($462.21 million) for the project.
SMC's Optimal Infrastructure was disqualified in June for failure to comply with the bidding rules, particularly on the validity of its bid security. Despite SMC's objection, DPWH went ahead with the opening of the bids on June 13.
After its appeals were rejected by the DPWH, SMC elevated the matter to the Office of the President, where it filed a 37-page Notice of Appeal on June 27.
Its disqualification from the bidding process "needlessly prejudices" private participation in public infrastructure projects just because of an "inadvertent and harmless typographical error (which was later on clarified and corrected)," SMC said in its appeal.
"As such, this decision defeats the constitutional policy of encouraging private sector participation in national development, as well as the declared policy of the Amended Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law. This Honorable Office should not allow this blatant error to remain uncorrected," the conglomerate said.
DPWH's bids and awards committee will have to wait for SMC's Palace appeal to be resolved before serving the Notice of Award to Team Orion, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said on July 2. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.51)