Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel (File photo) 

MANILA – Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to immediately act on his filed resolution seeking for an investigation on the alleged “undue payment” given by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to a joint venture in connection with a PHP3.19-billion Road information Technology (IT) Infrastructure project.

“It’s about time that the Blue Ribbon Committee conducts this much-needed investigation into the details of this LTO contract,” Pimentel said.

Filed in August last year, Senate Resolution No. 147 seeks an investigation on the LTO’s undue payment to the joint venture of Dermalog Identification System, Holy Family Printing Corp., and Microgenesis and Verzontal Builders, citing certain provisions of the law that “issuances are explicit in providing that as a general rule, no payment shall be made for services not yet rendered or for supplies and materials not yet delivered under any contract with the government.”

He said Clause 10 of the General Conditions of the Contract of the standard Philippine Bidding Documents for Goods states that “Payments shall be made only upon a certification by the Head of the Procuring Entity to the effect that the Goods have been rendered or delivered in accordance with the terms of this Contract and have been duly inspected and accepted.”

“Ten percent of the amount of each payment shall be retained by the Procuring Entity to cover the supplier’s warrant obligations under this Contract as described in GCC Clause 17,” he added.

In its 2021 Consolidated Annual Audit Report for the Department of Transportation, the Commission on Audit flagged the LTO “for the undue payment given to the foreign information technology (IT) contractor, Dermalog, despite incomplete turnover for the PHP3.19 billion Road IT Infrastructure project.”

Pimentel, in the resolution, also cited various “unresolved issues” that have disruptions in the operations of various LTO sites, including the slow processing of documents in getting a driver’s license and its renewal, “as well as registration of vehicles, which have been attributed to its new IT system.”

Pimentel saw the urgency in conducting an inquiry amid reports that two vehicles bearing the same plate numbers were registered in the foreign-made IT platform of the LTO- Land Transportation Management System (LTMS).

That was not the first time that the LTMS had alleged inaccuracies in its database after an individual was prohibited from renewing his driver’s license due to a motorcycle violation reflected in his LTMS account.

The LTMS is part of the PHP3.19 billion Road IT Infrastructure project that was awarded to the joint venture of German IT firm Dermalog and its local partners in May 2018. (PR)