Comprehensive explanation may reverse Duterte’s demand on ERC resignation

By Myrna M. Velasco – November 23, 2016, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

A more comprehensive explanation surrounding the suicide incident of an official of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) could likely change the sentiment of President Rodrigo Duterte on his earlier call for the officials of the agency to resign and the institution disbanded.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said “it could just have been an initial reaction from him (Duterte), but when there is full explanation already, he would be able to see the whole picture.”

The energy chief said he supported the investigation initiated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to unearth the truth on the allegations hurled by the late ERC Director Francisco Villa Jr. on his suicide notes.

He noted that he has been similarly apprised on the ‘two failed bid’ outcomes of the audio-visual presentation (AVP) that was supposedly the main trigger of the suicide incident.

“The explanation given to me: one (the AVP) was a failed bid; number two, the project fell through; and number three, the value of the contract is below R500,000,” Cusi said.

According to material documents from the ERC, “following a second failure in bidding in August this year, no further activity related to the procurement of the AVP project has been undertaken.”

The originally approved budget for the AVP had been R300,000, but was subsequently raised to R490,000, “to cover both the creative and production aspects.”

The production of the AVP was given go-signal by the Commission, it was noted, “to help establish the agency’s corporate identity so that the public will get to know the kind of service it renders for the protection of the consumers’ interests.”

The bids and awards committee (BAC) of the ERC chaired by Villa posted its first request for quotation (RFQ) “for the development of the ERC’s Corporate Communication Strategy and Overall Concept Campaign Idea,” along with the terms of reference (TOR) on April 6 this year.

That round of procurement was subsequently declared “a failure of bidding” because there were no parties that submitted offers.

That then prompted the ERC-BAC to seek 2nd RFQ with the notice posted on August 3, 2016; and with an adjusted budget of R490,000 from originally R300,000 to whet the appetite of prospective bidders.

“Four bidders submitted quotations. The agency of Mr. Luis Morelos (who was named in the Villa suicide notes) did not submit a bid,” ERC noted.

During the evaluation of the bids, however, it was observed by the ERC-BAC itself that “the terms of reference failed to indicate the passing rate which was vital in determining the most responsive quotation.” Such passing rate was supposed to have been set at 75-percent based on the prescribed parameters and equivalent point scores set out by the bids and awards committee.