Philippines – LTO chief faces another complaint over P830-M driver’s license cards

By | June 9, 2017

In this Dec. 20, 2016 photo shows a Land Transportation Office employee holds up driver’s license cards ready for release at the LTO main office in Quezon City. The STAR/Michael Varcas, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante is facing another criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with his office’s alleged anomalous driver’s license card projects.

In its 14-page complaint filed Thursday, advocacy group Anti-Trapo Movement (ATM) represented by its founding chairman Leon Peralta, urged the ombudsman to investigate Galvante and 12 other individuals for possible violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Aside from Galvante, named as respondents in the complaint were LTO executive director and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Romeo Vera Cruz, BAC members Dennis Singzon, Maribel Salazar, Irene Nueva, Rector Antiga, Francis Ray Almora, Mercy Jane Paras-Leynes and technical working group members Norberto Espino III, Camilo Balon, Leda Jose, Paquita Dela Cruz and Danilo Encela.

The complaint stemmed from the alleged anomalous awarding of P830-million contract to Nextix, Dermalog and CFP Joint Venture for the supply of 8,360,000 pieces driver’s license cards with five-year validity.

Just last March, the ATM also filed a graft complaint before the ombudsman against Galvante, Vera Cruz and five LTO BAC members in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement last year of P187-million worth of driver’s license cards with three-year validity from AllCard Plastics Philippines Inc. (AllCard).

In its new complaint, the group said the awarding of the supply contract for driver’s license cards with five-year validity was attended by several irregularities.

The ATM said the respondents purposely disqualified the lowest bidder Banner Plasticard Inc. and second lowest bidder Kolonwel & PT Pura Joint Venture to award the contract to Dermalog as they supposedly “financially benefitted from the same.”

The ATM said the contract was awarded to Dermalog without giving Banner and Kolonwel an opportunity to file their respective appeal.

The group noted that the BAC’s Notice of Award to Dermalog was dated April 3, 2017 but Banner was only furnished with a copy of it on April 7 – the same day that the BAC issued Notice to Proceed with the contract.

The group said the respondents “intentionally delayed” the delivery of the BAC resolution to Banner and Kolonwel so that they cannot comply with the thee-day rule to file an appeal.

The ATM further said the cards to be delivered by Dermalog lack the security features required under the terms of reference of the project.

Lastly, the group said Dermalog’s bid of P829.668 million was “overpriced” by more than P79.6 million as compared to Banner’s bid of P750 million.

“Clearly, Dermalog’s effective cost is 10.53% higher than that of Banner. Obviously, some 8.36 million Filipino drivers would pay a considerably much higher cost for their driver’s license cards if, and when, the same will be procured from Dermalog,” the complaint read.

Aside from the filing of criminal charges, the ATM also urged the ombudsman to impose administrative penalties against the respondents, particularly to order their perpetual disqualification from government service.

In a text message to reporters, Galvante said he and his fellow LTO officials have yet to receive a copy of the complaint, but assured that the awarding of the contract was above-board.

“We will answer when we receive a copy of the complaint. We are not involved in any anomaly,” Galvante said.

Source: PhilStar