Jul 212014

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Land Inc. has asked Malacanang to dismiss the appeal filed by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) regarding its disqualification in the bidding for the P35.4 billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project held last month.

Team Orion, a 50-50 joint venture between Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and Aboitiz Land, submitted to the Office of the President a comment on the Memorandum of Appeal filed by SMC last June 27 appealing the disqualification of Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc.

Team Orion spokesperson Roman Azanza III said the group earlier filed a Motion to Intervene with Malacanang to inform the public about the ongoing dispute in the award of the infrastructure project.

“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,” Azanza said.

He warned that the controversy puts in peril close to P900 billion worth of major infrastructure projects  under the Aquino administration’s PPP scheme.

“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,” he said.

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“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,” Azanza said.

Last June 30, Malacanang issued a “Stay Order” preventing the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from implementing a June 11 resolution disqualifying SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure from opening of the financial bids due to the submission of an erroneous and deficient bid security last June 2.

The DPWH issued a Resolution dated June 11 announcing the disqualification of Optimal Infrastructure for violating several provisions of the bidding rules particularly the provision on bid security as it was short of the 180-day validity period requirement as its security was valid only until Nov. 25, 2014 instead of the required Nov. 29, 2014.

After a series of appeal with the DPWH, SMC was forced to elevate the case before the Office of the President where it filed a 37-page Notice of Appeal last June 27.

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