Davao City execs, Deped official cleared of P18M liability for 54,000 textbooks

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by Allan Yves Briones

Davao City executives and one Department of Education (Deped) official were cleared of their Notice of Disallowance (ND) for P18 million in 53,739 textbooks which allegedly violated procurement law.

In a decision setting aside an earlier affirmation of the ND, the Commission on Audit Commission Proper (COA-CP) held that the accused’ action of turning to “direct contracting” was permissible under the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

In an earlier decision by the COA Regional Office No. XI, they held that the accused procured 53,739 copies of “Workteks sa Edukasyong Pagpapahalaga” from Rex Book Store, Inc. (RSBI) without public bidding.

Named in the decision are the following:

Atty. Osmundo P. Villanueva, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman
Dr. Cerelyn B. Pinili, BAC member
Atty. Tristan Dwight P. Domingo, BAC member
Mr. Roberto P. Alabado III, BAC member
Engr. Roland C. Reyes, BAC member
Atty. Gil Norman D. Ciudadano, BAC Secretariat Head
Mr. Dee E. Macapundag, BAC Secretariat member
Mr. Edwin P. Alparaque, Acting Assistant City Administrator
Dr. Helen D. Paguican, Schools Division Superintendent
Ms. Carmelita S. Bangayan, Acting Assistant City General Services Officer

Under the law, “direct contracting” refers to a method of procuring goods “that does not require elaborate Bidding Documents” allowed in select instances.

COA-CP, citing Section 50 (a), ruled that the method is allowed when the goods are of “proprietary nature, which can be obtained only from the proprietary source” – such is the case with the textbooks.

“Thus, the procurement of the books can only be made through RBSI which falls under paragraph (a) of the (law),” the decision read.

In addition, COA-CP found that the procurement of the 53,739 textbooks did not disadvantage the government.

“Lastly, there was no damage incurred by the government as the prices offered by RSBI for the subject workteks were the same prices indicated in DepEd Order No. 48,” COA-CP said.

The three-man panel was composed of Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc.