Sotto proposes to prohibit protests vs bidding results

Published November 13, 2018, 7:35 PM

by Roel Tibay


By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III is proposing to prohibit, through a waiver, bidders from protesting the decision of a government agency should they lose the bidding for procurement of equipment or services.

In raising his proposal, Sotto noted the contentions of the losing companies in the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) selection of a third telecommunication player in the country.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III

The NTC, on Tuesday, junked the motions for reconsiderations filed by PT&T Company;; and SEAR Telecoms of politician Luis Chavit Singon and Mindanao-based TierOne Communications on its decision to disqualify them and proclaim Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) as the new provisional third telco player.

Sotto observed that such dispute always happen in bidding processes, and has been slowing down the government’s procurement of goods and services.

He also recalled how President Duterte wanted to end bureaucracy in government purchases.

“Siguro (Maybe) we have to look at the law that we follow kasi lagi na lang, pag may nanalo, may nagpo-protesta (because it has been a practice, that every time a company wins a bid, another protests),” Sotto said in a chance interview in Senate.

“Siguro (Maybe) it’s about time that we make them sign a waiver na ‘pag sila nag-bidding, sumama sila sa bidding, ‘pag natalo sila, bawal sa kanila magprotesta para hindi naaabala ang gobyerno (that when they bid, they should attend and participate in the bidding process and if they lose, they should not protest the decision, so that the government will not be inconvenienced),” he suggested.

Sotto did not expound further on his proposal.

Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act provides for a “protest mechanism” wherein decisions of a bid and awards committee of an agency in all stages of procurement may be protested. The law states that protests must be resolved first before a contract is awarded.

Sen. Grace Poe, for her part, said she would ask the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the NTC to explain on its decision choosing Mislatel as the new major telco player.

The Senate Public Services committee, which Poe chairs, will resume its inquiry on the selection of third telco player in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sila bumalik para magbigay ng update. Paano napili ‘yun? Kasi ‘di ba sabi nila dinadaan daw nila sa isang parang computer-generated system para maging fair, so tingnan natin kung bakit ‘yun ang nanalo,” she said in an interview at the sidelines of an event in Makati City.

She said she will also invite representatives from PT&T and SEAR Telecoms to ask them why they failed to complete their documents for the bidding.