Feb 10-16, 2011

The controversial P6.3-million “CISA contract” that ties the hands of Mankilam Capitol is not off the hook yet.

The transaction leading to the sudden awarding and implementation of the security services contract by Davao del Norte executive department’s officials to the Christian Investigation Security Agency (CISA) is to be checked and studied yet at presstime as to its legality by the provincial audit team of the Commission on Audit (COA).

The COA’s review and audit came a week after Governor Rodolfo del Rosario chided several questioning boardmembers for “grandstanding” over the contract which was awarded to CISA last December 28 and four days after, on January 1, 2011, had the CISA guards already securing the Capitol complex, replacing the over 60 contractual security personnel even without the required Notice to Proceed of Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr, who was the acting governor at that time in view of the travel of the governor in the United States in time of the Christmas Season.
In an interview Monday with the Valley & City Chronicle, COA auditor Susan Querequincia said she received “all the papers” relating to the transaction with the CISA just last Friday and that she would have to “to check and study yet the signatory, legality and scope of the contract”.

Asked on who signed the contract for and behalf of the province and when was it signed, the auditor said it was Gov. Del Rosario and it was “signed after January 8, 2011.”

The governor re-assumed office on January 8, 2011, also the day when he revoked the authority of the Vice Gov. Suaybaguio to be the acting governor. He left the the country on December 20, 2010.

When he left the country on that day to be with his son Congressman Anthony del Rosario in Palo Alto, California for the Christmas and New Year, automatically the vice governor assumed as the acting governor per provision of local government code.
In a check to the DILG’s official website, an entry post in the summary of foreign travel authority issued by the interior department to local officials and employees nationwide stated that Gov. Del Rosario was given authority to travel to USA on personal leave from Dec. 19, 2010 to Jan. 6, 2011.

Pressed to give more details on the documents relating CISA, Querequincia said she would have still to check and study the papers, and pledged she could have her findings bared to the media in two weeks time.

Having only a Notice of Award of the bid and without the required Notice to Proceed, some 38 CISA guards immediately moved in on New Year’s Day to start their posting presumably on the order of provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, whom reports said was “on leave but on call” at that time since last December 28, and of the provincial Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chaired by Samson Sanchez.

Earlier, Sanchez said that the BAC duly followed the bidding processes for the security services and that its documents and legality of the BAC actions were scrutinized and cleared by the provincial legal officer Atty. Jennifer Namoc, who is also a BAC member.

Sanchez added they could not afford to have a vacuum of security considering the expiration of the contracts of the contractual security personnel of the already deactivated Civil Security Services of the Capitol, an assertion which was rebutted by questioning sources in the Capitol that it was an alleged cover up for the “mysterious haste” and “shortcut” in the awarding and implementation of the contract of CISA.

He also said that based on Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act procuring security services is like procuring goods and services and does not require the prior approval of contract by the SP. But the law says that in such case there is still a need for a Notice to Proceed to be issued by the head of the agency within seven days after the contract’s approval.

CISA is the second lowest bidder of the transaction following the Butuan City-based United Field Sea Watchman and Checkers Agency (UFSWCA), which won the bidding but was knocked out by the BAC for failure to submit final bidding requirements making it an unresponsive bidder.

In a separate interview, Vice Gov. Suaybaguio said that he is leaving the issue to the decision of the COA as to whether the transaction is legal or not.

But as to the claim of Sanchez about the need “to fill up the vacuum of security services”, the vice governor said that considering there is a need yet to assure the papers relating the transaction he could have called in then the assistance of the provincial police to beef up the remaining 17 permanent security personnel in protecting the Capitol complex while all requirements under the law on government procurement have yet to be completed and the issue of the contract’s legality like as to whether the contract has to pass the provincial board or not. is yet to be resolved.

“Whatever would happen to the Capitol, by command responsibility, I am responsible to it,” he said referring to the time when he served as the acting governor.

The vice governor was not furnished with the bidding and award papers although Peligro had promised to give him instead a report of chronology of the transaction which did not materialize at all during the time when he sit as the acting governor.
The outcome of the sudden awarding of the contract to CISA last December apparently took turn for a worse threatening to put the executive and legislative departments in the Capitol into full collision course after Gov. Del Rosario chided questioning boardmembers for “grandstanding” over the CISA contract.

During last Monday’s session, the governor’s grandstanding charge was rebutted by Boardmember Shirley Belen Aala who threw apparent potshots to the governor for his earlier utterances in a news report. She expressed that by grandstanding definition it would mean that boardmembers were not grandstanding but only questioning official matters.

As this developed, sources said that the governor had asked the SP members including the vice governor for a closed-door dinner-meeting last Tuesday at the governor’s Tahanan in the Capitol complex with concerned executive officials including Peligro, Samson Sanchez and Namoc.

However, provincial photo news e-mailed to newspapers showed that not all of the boardmembers were present at Tahanan, also less the presence of Peligro, Sanchez and Namoc, three executive officials who were tagged by critics to have bypassed Vice Gov. Suaybaguio and the SP. Boardmember Antonio Lagunzad was absent during the meeting. Late reports however said that the meeting failed to resolve issues of the controversy.

In his earlier grandstanding charges, the governor made serious charges to the questioning boardmembers.

“They have over stepped on their responsibility as local legislators when they insisted the presence of two of his most trusted lieutenants before the august body, supposedly to shed light on the new security setup at the Capitol,” he said.
He said SP members “not to grandstand at the expense of the executive office. They must also have the right and legal basis and should put it in the proper perspective if they do so.”

“I don’t care if they do grandstanding everyday. But, if it affects the integrity of the executive branch, we cannot allow them to go ahead and step on our toes,” the governor added.

But the governor’s statements apparently did not sit well to the boardmembers, one of whom told this paper that instead of issuing such “he should have instead investigated his men who put him in the bad light.” (cha monforte)

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