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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

HERE’S why deals in the Iloilo provincial government should be closely scrutinized.

The Commission on Audit (CoA) 2008 annual audit report recommended to the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to ensure that Capitol suppliers are “well-scrutinized, eligible, competitive and capable to deliver.”

The audit body based its recommendation on the circumstances surrounding the purchase of a laptop computer requested by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in December 2007.

The PHO requested an Acer Aspire 5920G laptop computer with a memory size of 2,048 megabytes (MB) and processor type Intel Core 2 Duo T7300.

An Acer Aspire unit costs P99,000, according to the purchase order. But the laptop unit delivered by lone bidder Seven Seven Trading was an Acer TravelMate 6292. This unit has a memory size of 1,556MB while its processor is Intel Core 2 Duo T7100.

The Acer TravelMate laptop only costs P59,900, the audit agency said.

Despite the disparity between the purchase order and the unit delivered by Seven Seven Trading last February 2008, the Capitol inspection team accepted the laptop.

The audit body also found out that Acer TravelMate was already phased out from the market.

It was also found out that Seven Seven Trading, which is located on JM Basa Street, Iloilo City, is actually a middleman of another computer supplier Electroworld, Inc.

The CoA report said a certification issued by Electroworld to Ramie Salcedo, BAC chair and General Services Office head, proved that Seven Seven Trading does not sell Acer Aspire laptops.

“The certification issued by Electroworld Inc. to Mr. Ramie Salcedo proved that the item in the PO does not exist in the shelves of the Seven Seven Trading and dependent only in the stocks of Electroworld, Inc., the source of the said laptop unit,” the CoA audit report said.

CoA also questioned the eligibility of Seven Seven Trading saying no computers were displayed in the store but only sells school supplies and compute inks.

Salcedo defended the deal saying the two laptops have the same function.

The Acer TravelMate became cheaper compared to Acer Aspire because of technological advancements, Salcedo said.

Currently the media is taking a vigilant look on the bidding process for the purchase of P33-million worth of equipment for various district hospitals in the province of Iloilo.

Reports say the process is being influenced by people at the governor’s office who are asking huge commissions from “favored” suppliers.

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