Palace urged to follow BOT law in Calax row
MANILA, Philippines–Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Land Inc. again urged President Aquino to uphold the strict implementation of bidding rules for the 45-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) public-private partnership (PPP) deal, where their consortium is the frontrunner, amid a row between the government and disqualified conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Roman Azanza III, spokesman for Ayala and Aboitiz-backed Team Orion, again raised the possibility that the credibility of the Aquino administration’s flagship PPP program would be eroded should Malacañang take a position not in line with the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law.
San Miguel-backed Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. last month asked President Aquino to intervene in the process after it was disqualified on a technicality, or when its bid security validity was stated to be four days short of the required 180 days.
That action put any awarding of the P35.4-billion tollroad on hold as Malacañang said it would review the appeal, where Optimal Infrastructure asked that its disqualification be reversed and its bid of P20.1 billion be considered.
While the amount was higher than Team Orion’s P11.659 billion, Azanza told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday that the offer could not be considered because Optimal Infrastructure was disqualified, its technical proposal was not reviewed and its financial bid was not opened by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Moreover, he noted that Optimal Infrastructure “spoiled” its bid when they withdrew their bid envelope from the DPWH last June 13 to open this before the members of the press at a different venue.
Noel Kintanar, executive vice president for Ayala Corp. subsidiary AC Infrastructure, said during the same briefing that investors needed an assurance that existing rules could be trusted.
“If the rules don’t apply, how do we award a bid,” Kintanar said, citing the massive number of PPP deals either to be rolled out or were under study.
Optimal Infrastructure earlier said the DPWH bids and awards committee exercised “grave abuse of discretion” when it decided to disqualify it based on a technicality.
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