The Department of Justice (DOJ), has voiced opposition to plans to change colored photos of people in national identification cards (PhilIDs), to monochrome.
“We are of the opinion that the proposed actions are legally infirm,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla told Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe M. Medalla who sought a legal opinion from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Medalla wanted to make the photographs more interesting
There are 50 million pieces of printed material that will be produced by the end of 2022, and the PhilIDs have changed from monochrome to color.
Wikepedia says that monochrome printing “will only use one color ink or toner to produce different shades of that color and create a monochrome image, and,generally speaking, most monochrome printers will have a black cartridge as the single color.”
The BSP plans to modify its memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the BSP’s terms of reference (TOR) with the winning contractor AllCard, Inc.
BSP signed a contract with AllCard on October 1, 2020 to produce the PhilIDs. This was in accordance with the MOA that the BSP and PSA had signed on June 10, 2020. The agreement covers the production over a four-year period of 116,000,000 PhilIDs.
Remulla stated in his legal opinion, that the implementing rules (IRRs) of Republic Act No. 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act, states that amendments can only be done during “emergency cases or during fortuitous events.”
“Based on the foregoing, it is mandatory to establish the existence of the above conditions to warrant amendment to order, or in this case, any change in the technical specifications or terms of reference of already awarded government contracts,” he said.
He reminded the BSP that the existing TOR states that the PhilIDs have “colored photograph on the cards through a combination of laser engraving and digital colored printing/drop-on-demand technology.”
“The foregoing provision is categorical that the photograph must be colored, and it should be done through a combination of laser engraving and digital colored printing/drop-on-demand (DOD) technology. There is nothing in the TOR which authorizes the parties to: (i) shift from colored photograph; and (ii) remove digital colored printing from the TOR and instead, replace DOD printers with laser engraving printers,” he said.
He also said: “Colored is very much different from monochrome, and DOD printers (colored) provide very much different outputs than laser engraving printers (monochrome). Thus, the shift from colored printing to monochrome laser engraving, and the replacement of DOD printers with laser engraving printers are substantial amendments which would render such executed contract, if amended, to be an entirely different contract from the one that was bidded upon.”
Remulla stressed “the rationale behind the stringent guidelines is to safeguard the public from unlawful schemes where the technical specifications initially set out as basis for bidding will later be modified during contract implementation without sufficient legal basis.”
Remulla stressed that the Supreme Court had ruled that “modification of government contracts, after the same has been awarded after a public bidding, is not allowed because such modification serves to nullify the effect of public bidding and whatever advantages the Government had secured thereby and may also result in the manifest injustice to other bidders.”
Remulla advised Medalla to use the reservation clause provided for in item XIV of the TOR which states that “BSP reserves the right to require the Contractor to provide additional equipment, at no additional cost to BSP, in case target card personalization per day needs to be increased.”
“This requires no amendment or modification and would be in keeping with achieving the target and would also be well in line with the policy direction of the President in driving digital transformation that would greatly affect service delivery and access in the Philippines,” he said.
The legal opinion was dated November 9, 2022, and was obtained by Medalla in a Sept. 30, 2022 letter.
TAGS: #Remulla #Medalla #PhilIDs #BSP #DOJ
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