REP. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said that a favored contractor of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has won projects amounting P1billion but last-minute alteration of the bidding result showed the contractor lost.
Andaya said he has documents from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) showing that C.T. Leoncio Trading and Construction won the bidding for P1-billion worth of new DPWH infrastructure projects in Sorsogon and Catanduanes.
These projects were included in the 2019 National Expenditure Program prepared by the budget department.
However, the result of the bidding in Sorsogon and Catanduanes, was altered at the last minute to show that contractors other than C.T. Leoncio submitted the lowest bid for the P1-billion projects, Andaya said.
Documents showed that C.T. Leoncio submitted the lowest bid totalling P988,560,855 for 14 projects in Sorsogon and Catanduanes under the 2019 NEP.
In the previous hearings and based on the list submitted by DPWH it appeared that C.T. Leoncio did not win any bidding for Sorsogon projects.
“Sa unang listahan, malinaw na nanalo ang C.T. Leoncio sa bidding ng mga bagong proyekto sa Sorsogon at Catanduanes. Pero nang pumutok na ang anomalya sa DBM, biglang nabago ang listahan at lumalabas na walang napanalunang proyekto ang C.T. Leoncio kahit isa,” Andaya said.
“Kung noong 2017 at 2018, sobrang suwerte ang C.T. Leoncio sa mga bidding sa Bicol, sobrang malas naman yata sila ngayong 2019. Kahit isang proyekto, walang napanalunang proyekto ang C.T. Leoncio sa Sorsogon. Kataka-taka talaga,” he added.
According to Andaya, this alteration of official documents is a serious criminal offense.
“We will try to unmask who may be held criminally liable for this offense when the House investigating panel resumes its probe on DBM anomalies next month,” the solon said.
The early bidding of new DPWH projects for 2019 was made possible with Secretary Diokno’s Circular Letter No. 2018-8 dated July 30, 2018, which prescribes the “Guidelines on the Conduct of Early Procurement for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP).”
Under these guidelines, Diokno instructed all heads of executive, legislative and judicial branches of National Government to “undertake Early Procurement Activities from October to December 2018, upon the submission of the FY 2019 NEP to Congress.”
These activities include pre-procurement conference until post-qualification of bids and recommendation by the Bids and Awards Committees to award the contract to the winning bidder.
In the hearings conducted by the House Committees on Rules and Appropriations, it was established that C.T. Leoncio cornered a big chunk of the P10-billion DPWH projects allocated by DBM in Sorsogon under the 2018 national budget.
It was also established by official documents and sworn testimonies that four of these C.T. Leoncio projects were undertaken as joint ventures worth P550 million with Aremar Construction, a firm partly-owned by Diokno’s son-in-law Romeo Sicat Jr. The latter is married to the Budget chief’s daughter Charlotte Justin.