THE Philippine Bureau of Customs’ P418-million computerization project is on hold after a Manila court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the award of the contract to the winning bidders.
Annabelle Margaroli, president of mobile solutions provider Omniprime Marketing Inc., had earlier filed for a writ of preliminary injunction with the Manila Trial Court against the awarding of the Integrated Philippine Customs System (iPCS) project to Dubai-based Webb Fontaine Group FZ-LLC and its local joint venture partner Global Resource for Outsourced Workers (GROW).
Manila TRC Branch 173 Judge Amando Yanga issued the TRO based on Margaroli’s complaint.
Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon, however, says Omniprime’s complaint has no basis. He said a TRO is given to an “aggrieved party, somebody who stands to lose something because of a certain action.”
“(It’s) questionable that she (Margaroli) will stand to lose anything kasi hindi naman siya nanalo. Ni hindi siya nakapag-bid kasi disqualified bidder yun (because she could not even bid, she’d been disqualified). So we don’t see anything na masasabi na (that would show) she stood to lose something,” Biazon told PortCalls on a chance interview.
But Yanga said Omniprime had presented evidence on which he based the granting of the TRO.
Omniprime and Webb Fontaine were once bid partners for the National Single Window phase 2 project. Omniprime had also bid for the iPCS but lost.
Omniprime said the winning bidders have not filed a valid and notarized copy of the joint venture agreement between the Webb Fontaine and GROW.
Atty. Pedro Genato, in a letter to the Manila RTC, denied the signature appearing on the sworn statements executed by Webb Fontaine incorporators Ara Shamirzayan and Monico Jacob was his and that the documents were not in his book of records because it wasn’t he who notarized them.
Among the respondents Omniprime named in its petition are Biazon; Customs special bids and awards committee chair deputy commissioner Peter Manzano; committee members Simplicio Domingo, Liwayway Mendoza, Corazon Azana and deputy commissioner Caridad Manarang.
Biazon said the contract had already been awarded to the winning bidders even before the TRO was issued.
A notice of award signed by Biazon and addressed to Webb Fontaine incorporators Ara Shamirzayan and Monico Jacob was given to the winning partners on June 12.
The commissioner said, however, that the BOC will “respect the TRO” because “we are duty-bound to follow what is ordered by the court.”
The commissioner said he is saddened by what happened, adding that “any delay adds to the problems of customs.”
A source said Omniprime had paid the cash bond required for the TRO to be in effect.
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