The Commission on Audit (COA) questioned Zambales’ purchase of P61-million worth of food and aid supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown. The products were purchased from companies not selling food but books, agri products, and construction materials.
In the COA’s audit report, it was said that Zambales-LGU awarded the contract to purchase rice, canned goods, janitorial supplies, and equipment to LMVJ Trading, J. Delos Santos Poultry, and Agricultural Supply, Ronie’s Trading, and GMJ Trading.
According to the COA, such contracts were awarded to the said suppliers even though it appears in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) record that the product they sell is different.
Zambales bought P12 million worth of rice, janitorial supplies, and equipment from Bulacan-based LMVJ Trading, which is registered with the BIR as a retailer of books, office and school supplies, and computers.
Zambales also bought P10 million worth of rice from J. Delos Santos Poultry and Agricultural Supply, which is registered with the BIR as a retailer of agricultural farm supplies and equipment.
The LGU also allegedly bought P35 million worth of canned goods from Ronie’s Trading, which is registered with the BIR as a retailer of construction materials, equipment, office and school supplies, newspapers, magazines, and books.
COA: Zambales bought food packs from books, agri products suppliers
The COA also found that Zambales purchased P3 million worth of canned goods from GMJ Trading, which registered office and school supplies, newspapers, magazines, books, food, beverages, and tobacco.
“In view of the foregoing lapses, the discrepancies noted in the permits and registrations of the suppliers and the subsequent awarding of the contracts in their favor is questionable,” according to the COA.
According to the COA, it is the duty of the local Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) “to determine whether the Mayor’s Permit and BIR Certificate of Registration issued to the supplier authorizes it to engage in the business stated therein.”
The BAC chairman explained that the purchase of such products was following the Emergency Procurement-Bayanihan Act, and the provincial accountant said that such purchase was following the stipulations of the Interior and Budget Department circulars.
The state auditors recommended that the provincial official instruct the BAC to “fully scrutinize” the documents submitted by the suppliers and explain why the documents were accepted “without proper verification or validation.”