Monday, January 29, 2007

Overprice In Comelec Ballot Paper Deal Bared

Who benefited from the overpriced security ballot paper? Why the Comelec-BAC revised the specifications of the ballot paper three days before the scheduled bidding last Jan. 20? I hope the Senate will investigate the alleged anomaly and culprits should be sent to jail.

Overprice in Comelec
ballot paper deal bared
Higher of two bidders get P300M supply contract

ANOTHER controversy is brewing at the Commission on Elections four months before the mid-term elections over the purchase of P300 million worth of security paper to be used in the printing of ballots.
A Comelec insider said Lamco Paper Products Corp. was awarded the contract despite posting a bid of P23,899 per ream, compared to that of Advance Computer Forms, which had the lowest bid at P14,999 per ream, or a price difference of P8,999 per ream.
The source said Lamco tendered a total bid of P310,543,606 while Advance submitted a total bid of P194,897,006, or a difference of P115,646,600.
Lamco and Advance were the only firms which qualified out of four bidders. The other two, Noah’s Paper and Multi-Forms Corp., failed to meet the requirements of the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
The Comelec en banc approved the recommendation of the BAC in a resolution dated Jan. 23, 2007.
Another source said the Comelec-BAC made the award under "questionable circumstances" since no representative from the bidders or any technical expert was present during the evaluation procedure for the security features of the samples provided by Lamco and Advance.
Records also showed that the Comelec-BAC revised the specifications of the ballot paper three days before the scheduled bidding last Jan. 20. Normally, bidders get a notice of seven days.
In the first notice for bidders published last Dec. 29, the BAC described the specification of the ballot paper subject for bidding as "watermarked mechanical bond paper for official ballots, 70 gsm, with watermarked impression."
The specifications for the paper were subsequently revised as "wood-free book paper, white-85 gsm. Paper shall contain watermark made through mechanical process by dandy roll."

The Comelec-BAC also made additional required security features for the paper as follows:
* Dark violet spots that appear at random when exposed to direct sunlight or ultra-violet light.
* After-glow spots that appear in the dark after the paper is exposed to fluorescent light.
* Chemical or solvent sensitive features similar to those found in a CBS-1 (clearing board specification 1) or security paper used in the production of bank checks.
A source said the BAC move threw Advance off balance while "Lamco surprisingly passed the evaluation despite being virtually a neophyte in the bidding, supply and delivery of ballot paper."
The source said producing a paper that contains a "watermark made through a mechanical process by dandy roll" ordinarily takes more than a month.
The source said Lamco, which is owned by a Terry Sy, supplies the paper used in books procured by the Department of Education. This is its first known venture in the supply of ballot paper. MALAYA 01/29/2006



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