QC Mayor Joy Belmonte
By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Quezon City government, through the city’s attorney, hit back against the face shield issue whistle-blower saying the expose is “unfounded”.
Atty. Niño Casimiro, Quezon City’s legal counsel, said that AnaKalusugan Representative Mike Defensor’s allegations about “overpriced” procurement of face shields are most likely politically motivated.
“The motivation of Cong. Mike Defensor for making these allegations about the city’s procurement of face shields last year is quite obvious, but it is just as clear that they are unfounded,” Casimiro said.
Defensor is the probable opponent of incumbent QC Mayor Joy Belmonte with his possible running mate in 2019 mayoralty candidate and former Congressman Bingbong Crisologo who is believed to go against Vice Mayor Gian Sotto.
Casimiro pointed out that, Cong. Defensor, with a seemingly clever use of words and documents that was supposed to back up his claims, made it appear that the QC Government acquired overpriced face shields when the truth is the DTI document which he used to make it appear like it was a mandated price-cap was in fact a merely Suggested Retail Price guideline.
“What the good Congressman failed to mention is the context and the timing of this procurement,” Casimiro said.
He added, the procurement was during the time that IATF Resolution No. 88, Series of 2020 (issued on December 14, 2020) made it mandatory to wear face shields under the threat of legal sanctions.
“This triggered the immediate necessity to provide our citizens with the means to comply therewith, especially the poor.
Along with other factors, this caused a surge in demand and a sharp spike in prices,” Casimiro explained.
Casimiro added that a little research would have revealed that the Procurement Service of the National Government (through the Department of Budget and Management) was selling the same face shield at P120 per piece to other government units during that time.
“Effectively, therefore, Quezon City acquired them at half the price. We procured this under an emergency bidding process (due to the IATF Resolution) wherein there were other qualified participants, and we selected the lowest price as mandated by law,” Casimiro said.
“While he was most likely just using these documents for optics, the public can be rest assured that these were meticulously audited and scrutinized by the Commission on Audit, which gave the present QC administration the highest audit score that the city has ever managed throughout its long history,” Casimiro further explained. (ai/mtvn)
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