Requesting Entity: Philippine Air Force (PAF) Procurement Center
Issues Concern: Applicability of Section 54.2 (b) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations Part A (“IRR-A”) of Republic Act No. 9184 (“R.A. 9184”) on Procurement Activities undertaken through Negotiated Procurement under Sections 53 (a) and (b)
Whether the requirements stated in Section 54.2(b) of the IRR-A of R.A. 9184 should be strictly followed or the procuring entity has the leeway to directly negotiate a contract with a technically, legally and financially capable supplier.
As can be gleaned from the aforecited provisions (Sections 53 and 54.2(b), IRR-A, R.A. 9184), the legal definition of Negotiated Procurement, the specific circumstances when the said alternative method may be resorted to, as well as the terms, conditions and limitations in applying Negotiated Procurement are emphatically and categorically provided in R.A. 9184 and its IRR-A. Moreover, a reading of the aforementioned provisions would certainly express the mandatory and obligatory force of the procurement reforms contained therein. As such, we cannot agree with the idea that the terms and conditions specified under Section 54.2 (b) of the IRR-A of R.A. 9184 may be dispensed with and the procuring entity has the leeway to directly negotiate a contract with any technically, legally and financially capable supplier they prefer.
Likewise, we do not share the observation of the PAF that the commonly-accepted definition of “negotiate” appears to be contradictory with the requirement of the conduct of public bidding procedures under Section 54.2 (b) for cases of Negotiated Procurement falling under Sections 53 (a) and (b) of the IRR-A of R.A. 9184. Under the Rules on Statutory Construction, “the natural and ordinary meaning of words will however be disregarded in favor of a statutory meaning or a well-established technical meaning, or when it is plain and clear from the statute or from the context of the words within the statute that a different meaning was intended, or when to observe the commonly accepted meaning will defeat the manifest intention of the legislature or result in absurdity.” Indeed, it is an old and well-established maxim that words ought to be more subservient to the intent, and not the intent to the words.
Based on the foregoing, we are of the opinion that the requirements under Section 54.2 (b) in connection with Sections 53 (a) and (b) of the IRR-A, being mandatory provisions, should be strictly followed and complied with.