'No law violation': Comelec officials defend deal with F2 Logistics

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stood by its decision to award a crucial multi-million-peso contract on the delivery of 2022 election supplies to F2 Logistics, a firm with ties to Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy.

"There are fears of some people about the awarding of the contract to F2 Logistics. Our [special bids and awards committee] is reviewing and following the procedures under the law so I don’t see any problem if it is awarded to F2 Logistics as long as we follow the law," Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino told reporters during the launch of voter registration at SM Supermalls on Friday morning, August 27.

F2 Logistics won the contract with an approved budget of P1.61 billion after tendering a lowest calculated bid of P535 million during the open competitive bidding in July, subsequently passing the post-qualification process.

In conducting the open competitive bidding procedures, the Comelec's SBAC followed the 2016 revised implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 9184, also known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act.”

On Friday afternoon, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo echoed Ferolino during the poll body's briefing to House lawmakers about its preparations for the 2022 elections.

"It is the opinion of the Law Department and the En Banc agrees with it unanimously that there was no violation in the procurement process on the delivery of [automated election system] components," Casquejo said.

The awarding of the contract to F2 Logistics has alarmed observers due to its ties to campaign donors of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

According to the 2020 annual report of Chelsea Logistics, Dennis Uy is the chairman, Efren Uy is the president, and Cherylyn Uy is the corporate treasurer of F2 Logistics. The three of them donated P30 million, P3.5 million, and P1 million to Duterte's Malacañang bid, respectively.

Senator Leila De Lima also previously filed a resolution seeking a probe into how F2 Logistics advanced in the bidding process, fearing there might be a conflict of interest.

Prior to the awarding of the contract, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas had already said Dennis Uy's ties to Duterte were not a ground for disqualification of the logistics firm.

On Friday, BH Representative and House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy also asked Casquejo whether automated election supplies could be tampered while in transit.

"On the transportation of devices, will this pose any problem in the integrity of the machines?" Herrera-Dy asked.

Casquejo, however, guaranteed that election supplies won't be compromised while being transported.

"Mayroon po tayong security measures, mayroon tayong serial numbers, QR codes, and part of the deliverables of the winning bidder is to make sure na iyong delivery natin ay hindi ma-compromise," Casquejo said.

(We have security measures, serial numbers, and QR codes, and among the deliverables of the winning bidder is to make sure that the delivery of the materials won't be compromised.)

This is not the first time F2 Logistics had dealings with the poll body. F2 Logistics also secured Comelec contracts for the deployment of election equipment for the 2018 barangay elections and 2019 midterm polls. – Rappler.com