Requesting Entity: Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APEZFA)
Issues Concern: Submission and Receipt of Bids
Whether the Procuring Entity may require bidders to submit the original or certified true copy of their legal eligibility requirements during the opening of bids.
The BAC cannot require the submission of the original legal, technical and financial eligibility requirements, because no less than the rules allow for the submission of copies of these documents. Additionally, Section 25.2 of the IRR requires the submission of a Sworn Statement attesting to the fact that each of the documents submitted is an authentic copy of the original in satisfaction of the bidding requirements, thereby signifying the acceptability of copies submitted as long as they are the authentic reproduction of the original. Pointedly, the Sworn Statement is a representation made by the bidder that the documents submitted are authentic copy of the original which the Procuring Entity should verify, validate, and ascertain during post-qualification.
Whether it is discretionary for the BAC to accept/reject late bids.
The BAC neither has the power nor discretion to accept a bid submitted beyond the period specified in the Invitation to Bid (IB). The guidepost provided under the rules is categorical and unambiguous, in that, "[b]ids shall be received by the BAC on the date, time, and place specified in the Invitation to Bid." The dictate of the rule is mandatory and unqualified, that is, the bids shall be received by the BAC on the date, time and place indicated in the IB. To further stress the non-acceptability of bids submitted after the deadline for submission and receipt of bids, the rules is emphatic that "[b]ids, including the eligibility requirements under Section 23.1 of [the] IRR, submitted after the deadline shall not be accepted by the BAC." Moreover, it is clearly stated in the Bidding Documents that any bid submitted after the deadline for submission and receipt of bids prescribed by the Procuring Entity shall be declared "late" and shall not be accepted by the Procuring Entity. Accordingly, the BAC cannot accept any bid submitted after the deadline for submission and receipt of bids indicated in the IB.