22 solons seek probe of Duty Free ‘midnight deals’ without bidding
Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives have crossed party lines to seek an investigation into the allegedly “midnight deals” entered into by the state-owned Duty Free Philippines Corp. (DFPC) in 2015 supposedly without pubic bidding.
House Resolution No. 1742 urged the good government committee to also look into the “highly suspicious and irregular extensions” of most of these contracts three years prior to their respective expirations.
The resolution was filed by lawmakers led by Deputy Majority Leaders Juan Pablo Bondoc, Arthur Defensor Jr. and Aurelio Gonzales Jr.; Deputy Minority Leaders Anthony Bravo, Eugene Michael De Vera, and Alfredo Garbin Jr.; and Assistant Minority Leader Aniceto Bertiz III.
The resolution did not specify which contracts were being questioned.
But it stated that most of the contracts that were not bidded out were renewed in 2013 for a five-year term of up to 2018.
The lawmakers said that “surprisingly,” the contracts were already extended in 2015 – three years before their – for another five years up to 2023.
“There is a need to address this issue to ensure that the government is not shortchanged by the contracts entered into by DFPC,” the resolution stated.
The lawmaker, mostly representing party-list groups, said: “There is no sufficient justification for the premature grant of extensions of these contracts which can be characterized as midnight deals of the previous officers of DFPC.”
The resolution was coauthored by Reps. Carlos Roman Uybarrreta (1-Care), Ricardo Belmonte (SBP), Teodoro Montoro (Aasenso), Ron Salo (Kabayan), Virgilio Lacson (Manila Teachers), Enrico Pineda (1-Pacman), Michael Romero (1-Pacman), Salvador Belaro Jr. (1-Ang Edukasyon), Manuel Luis Lopez (Manila, 1st Dist.), Christopher Co (Ako Bicol), Jose Panganiban (ANAC-IP), Manuel Jose Dalipe (Zamboanga City, 2nd Dist.), and Arnolfo Teves (Negros Oriental, 3rd Dist.) of the administration-allied supermajority.
Agri Rep. Orestes Salon of the recognized minority and Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin of the opposition Magnificent Seven bloc joined the resolution.
Good government committee chair Rep. Johnny Pimentel has yet to reply when asked if the hearings will be held when Congress resumes in May after a seven-week recess. /atm
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