The companies urge the Office of the President to uphold bidding rules and junk San Miguel's appeal for a revisit of the bidding process
MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Land Inc. has asked Malacañang to dismiss San Miguel Corporation’s petition to set aside the decision disqualifying it from bidding for the P35.4-billion ($814.45 million*) Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project.
Team Orion, a 50-50 joint venture between Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation and Aboitiz Land, wrote the Office of the President, seeking for the dismissal of San Miguel’s appeal. San Miguel’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. was disqualified by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due to a non-compliant bid security.
“We believe that nobody or no entity should ever be allowed to undermine the bidding process. There are rules and procedures that must be followed in a public bidding. If we do not follow it, and if we let errant participants act outside of the rules of a public bidding process, then the whole process will lose credibility,” said Team orion spokesperson Ramon Azanza III.
He warned that the controversy puts in peril close to P900 billion worth of major infrastructure projects being bid out by under the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
“We stand more to lose as a nation if we do not respect our own bidding rules and procedures. We need to keep the hard-earned confidence of investors in the stability and integrity of our public bidding process.
“Losing the confidence of investors would certainly have more of a “chilling effect on the Philippine economy”, particularly if any disqualified bidder could, after being disqualified and after the bidding process itself has been concluded, force to change the results by simply proclaiming a bid that, because of its own actions, cannot be verified to be existent in the first place,” he said.
On June 30, Malacanang issued a stay order, preventing DPWH from implementing a June 11 resolution disqualifying Optimal Infrastructure.
DPWH issued a resolution dated June 11 announcing the disqualification of Optimal Infrastructure for violating several provisions of the bidding rules, particularly the one on bid security. The company’s bid security was short of the 180-day validity period requirement; it was valid only until Nov. 25, 2014 instead of the required Nov. 29.
After a series of dismissed appeals before DPWH, San Miguel elevated the case before the Office of the President on June 27.
In a public announcement, the legal counsels of Team Orion said Optimal Infrastructure could not be allowed to reset the bidding process because its bid was non-verifiable and legally non-existent. They said the bid “was returned unopened and was, in a manner of speaking, officially dead” and it was “spoiled evidence.”
“Public policy and the dictates of transparency and good governance demand strict compliance with the bidding rules. The sanctity and integrity of the PPP framework and bidding process must be protected, lest confidence in the process is undermined,” they explained.
They added: “Optimal Infrastructure did not follow the legal process and went to the media to announce its alleged bid. It appealed to the Office of the President two weeks after its disqualification has been implemented and after public opinion has not resulted in the acceptance of the alleged bid, a result which Optimal now seeks from the Office of the President.”
San Miguel said it offered P20.105 billion ($462.67 million) for the project. Team Orion’s bid was P11.659 billion ($268.26 million). Other bids included P11.33 billion from MP CALA Holdings Inc. Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and P922 million from Malaysian-owned Alloy MTD Philippines. – Rappler.com
($1 = P43.47)