Did Cebu City award P19.5M orders to unqualified caterer?

Cebu City Hall has allegedly bought packed meals amounting to P19.5 million from a “favored” food caterer that’s believed to be underqualified in terms of financial standing.

In a public Facebook post, radio commentator Arturo Barrit on Sept. 5, 2021 said the capitalization of the food caterer, M&R Food Services owned by couple Marvin and Rhea Gillera, was only P50,000. Barrit’s post has garnered 95 shares and 110 reactions as of writing.

Barrit also wrote that the business address of the food catering service which is at 39-N Purok IV Upper Camputhaw, Escario Street, Cebu City based on its business permit cannot be located.

Barrit posted a copy of the purchase orders (PO) for the packed meals which, according to him, were the biggest issued POs out of the P19.5 million. These purchase orders were P5 million dated Dec. 22, 2020 and P5.4 million dated Jan. 14, 2021.

Barrit said he got his information from a certain Julios Buot, a friend of Gillera. Buot also runs the same business, according to Barrit.

“Mr. Buot has confided to me that this issue must be investigated by City Hall and proper authorities. According to him, Mr. Gillera doesn’t have the financial capacity to deliver and service all the City Hall issued POs amounting to millions,” wrote Barrit.

Barrit said the food catering service has “insufficient” capital, but it was able to bag the City Hall deal.

“But ‘lo and behold, the law requires that negotiated procurement can only be entered into by persons who have the financial capabilities, among others,” wrote Barrit.

For 2021, Barrit learned that the food caterer has a gross income of P8.5 million, “obviously indicating that all these may have come solely from the P19.5M contract it got from City Hall,” he added.

Cebu City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., in an interview, said the City has been careful in all of its transactions and follows the proper procedure in the procurement process.

“By the book man na atong pagpadagan diha sa City Hall (We are running City Hall by the book),” said Casas.

Casas was not able to provide the details of the transactions during the interview but said he would do so on Monday, Sept. 6.

He said that instead of posting on Facebook, those who have concerns or questions about the transactions made by the City can always go to the City Hall so he can personally explain these to them. (JJL)