Friday, March 12, 2010

Herbert Bautista and his Mathematics

I had a chance, along with other bloggers, to interview Quezon city vice mayor Herbert Bautista last night. He was gracious enough to accommodate us to his home at Capitol Homes. We shared supper with him.

Afterwards, we went down to business---how the hell did the Quezon city government incurred 270 million pesos worth of food expenses just feeding 2,500 people in 10 projects called Halamanan at Bakuran and a program for drug dependents?

This was on everybody's mind when we met Herbert in his modest house in Capitol Homes and what he said stumped everybody, including me. Let's do the math.

Herbert Bautista said that there were three types of procurement in government, one of them, emergency procurement. Emergency procurement, he says, does not need bidding. And it's quite understandable, since as the name implies, the procurement was a necessity, given the emergency nature of a particular situation.

During this "emergency procurement", Bautista, as vice mayor, convinced the Quezon City council to feed 2,500 people for a certain period of time, which, to my mind, is quite understandable.

However, what baffled me was the decision of the entire Council to feed this people for a year, which was not the intention of the procurement, since an emergency procurement is allowed by law only to cover the period where there is an emergency.

Don't tell me Mr. Bautista that the entire period of emergency was one year? The law states that if a particular program extends the time of the emergency, then, the procurement should be regular procurement, not emergency procurement, which will necessitate a bidding.

Anyway, granting that this procurement had the authority given by the Council, let's hear what Vice mayor Herbert Bautista has to say about the amount of money spent for feeding 2,500 people.

Bautista says that they fed 2,500 and based on records, every meal cost 40 (some as high as 150 pesos per). So, 2,500 x 40= 100,000 for each meal. If they fed them thrice, that's 300,000 pesos per day.

Okey. So, for a month which includes weekends, that would only be 9 million pesos. So, for a year, that would cost the Quezon City government, 108 million pesos. The question that everybody wants to know is--why did the government spent 270 million pesos, for a feeding program which only amounted to 108 million? Where did the rest of the money go?

Herbert Bautista was evidently stumped when we asked him about it. He lamely defended himself by saying that since a case was filed already before the Ombusman, any and all discussions about this will be treated as illegal.

Mr. Bautista, the case is just at the preliminary investigation, and not in court. Besides, any citizen can very well talk about this since it is our money that was spent here, not yours nor the Council.

Anyway, Karen Davila of ANC interviewed Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista and this was all he could say about this very controversial case now becoming a very big scandal over the net.