NPM No. 152-2015
Requesting Entity: Social Security System (SSS)
Issues Concern: Observer's Access to Documents
Whether Observers may be provided documents other than those enumerated in Section 13.5 of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9184.
The responsibility of the Observers is grounded upon Section 13 of RA 9184 which allows Observers to sit in "all stages of the procurement process". Specifically, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is required to invite Observers who may attend and observe all stages of the procurement. The procurement process contemplated under Section 13 of the law and its associated rules refers to "competitive bidding", which is defined as "[a] method of procurement which is open to participation by any interested party and which consists of the following processes: advertisement, pre-bid conference, eligibility screening of prospective bidders, receipt and opening of bids, evaluation of bids, post-qualification, and award of contract."
[I]t is clear that the phrase "all stages of the procurement" includes only the abovementioned procurement stages. This incidentally excludes other proceedings in the IRR of RA 9184, such as, but not limited to, those observed in the Protest Mechanism . Hence, the rights and responsibilities of the Observers are limited to the same extent and the BAC may provide the documents requested in accordance with Section 13.5 of the IRR of 9184.