COA clears ERC chair over allegations on AVP contract

By Myrna M. Velasco – February 1, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

A report of the Commission on Audit (COA) has vindicated Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar, as he was cleared of any alleged irregularities in the reported P300,000-worth institutional audio-visual presentation (AVP) project for the agency.

In a report signed by State Auditor Vivencio Quiambao Jr. and Supervising Auditor Flovita Felipe, the State audit body had debunked overtones that the supposed award of the project had been done through a “rigged” process.

It is worth noting that the issue tormented the ERC as a regulating agency for months – and that it technically hostaged an entire industry because of the insinuations set off by the late ERC Director Francisco Villa Jr. in his suicide notes.

Nevertheless, the COA report straightforwardly stated that the AVP “was not consummated” and that no payments were made in connection to it.

The audit body has been among the third party entities tapped to scrutinize and investigate the ERC following the suicide incident of the ERC official – given the allegations also that he had penned in his suicide notes. Villa was the agency’s head of its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) prior to his untimely demise.

The COA noted that the amount set aside for Luis Morelos, who’s supposed to be tapped for the AVP production, had been unutilized, thus, the amount will revert to ERC’s coffers “as the transaction did not materialize.”

Further in its report, COA stipulated that “records would show that no payments were made to Mr. Morelos,” in reference to the AVP project.

Additionally, it was noted that the reported memorandum of agreement (MOA) engaging Morelos for consultancy services with the ERC had been terminated two weeks after it was signed.

COA, in particular, has stated that “no prospective bidders submitted their quotation for which it became a failure of bidding for the first posting in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) site.

“It emphasized that the second posting was also declared ‘a failure’ on grounds that the preparation of the second terms of reference failed to indicate the passing rate which was a vital information to determine the most responsive quotation.”

The State audit agency qualified too that “there were no further actions taken by the ERC after the two failed biddings.”