By Filane Mikee Cervantes

IRREGULARITIES. House Committee on Public Order and Safety chair, Rep. Dan Fernandez (right), presides over an inquiry into the bidding process of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for the fire truck procurement, at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Tuesday (Dec. 5, 2023). Fernandez asked the BFP to replace Supt. Jan Garry Lunas as technical working group chair due to alleged irregularities in the bidding and procurement of fire trucks. (Photo courtesy of House Press and Public Affairs Bureau)

MANILA – A House of Representatives panel has sought the removal of the head of a technical working group of the Bureau of Fire and Protection’s (BFP) bids and awards committee (BAC) due to alleged irregularities in the bidding and procurement of fire trucks.

The House Committee on Public Order and Safety, chaired by Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez, has asked the BFP to replace BFP Supt. Jan Garry Lunas as TWG chair after it was discovered that the official purchased a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that was registered after BFP’s frequent winning bidder for the fire truck procurement for several years.

During Tuesday’s House Committee on Public Order and Safety’s inquiry into the “restrictive” and “questionable” bidding process of BFP for fire truck procurement, Fernandez said Lunas confessed to buying a Toyota Fortuner registered to the employee of F. Cura Industries.

“So, the reason why we were asking for his removal, kasi nga, naco-compromise ‘yung kanilang decision bilang siya yung technical working group chairman sa bidding process (is that their decision has already been compromised because he is the technical working group chairman in the bidding process),” Fernandez said in a news release on Thursday.

The Government Procurement Reform Act prohibits members of the BAC from making or accepting any communication with any bidder regarding the evaluation of their bids until the issuance of the Notice of Award.

“Ang aming request dun, wag na muna nila ituloy (‘yung bidding). Ayusin muna nila ‘yung process ng bidding nila ulit kasi nga, dahil nga tainted na iyon, compromised na iyong decision doon dahil chairman siya (Lunas), so they have to review it (Our request is that they should not push through [with the bidding]. They should first fix the bidding process because the decision has been tainted, compromised because he is the chair, so they have to review it),” he said.

During the hearing, Fernandez asked Lunas whether he considered the purchase of the SUV as improper or immoral, to which the latter replied that he saw nothing wrong with the transaction.

Lunas also did not provide details of the purchase, such as the vehicle price.

BFP Chief Louie Puracan, meanwhile, said they would conduct a separate investigation regarding the controversy involving Lunas. (PNA)