Requesting Entity: Office of the Auditor Audit Group A - National Government Sector, Team 7 Department of Public Works and Highways - Region VI
Issues Concern: BAC Secretariat Head as Notary Public
Whether the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat Head may notarize contracts entered into by her agency as a result of successful procurement activities where she has taken active participation in such official capacity.
Section 3, Rule IV of the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice provides that a notary public is disqualified from performing a notarial act if he/she is a party to the instrument or document that is to be notarized. However, although the BAC Secretariat Head is, technically speaking, not a party to a contract between the procuring entity and the winning bidder, a liberal interpretation of the provision would indirectly allow what the rule prohibits directly, i.e. a conflict of interest on the part of the notary public.
The BAC Secretariat provides a vital supporting role for the procuring entity in the public procurement process. In many occasions, it is even the BAC Secretariat that prepares the ensuing Contract for the project; and to a large extent, the BAC Secretariat provides administrative assistance to the BAC and acts as the central channel of communication for all concerned procurement stakeholders.
Accordingly, x x x it is not advisable that the BAC Secretariat Head be the same Notary Public who will notarize the ensuing contract for the project. It is worthy to stress that questions, insinuations and doubts on the execution of documents should be obviated at all times.
Whether the BAC Secretariat Head may sign procurement-related documents, such as the abstract of bids as read, and notices of pre-bid conference and opening of bids.
[T]he BAC Secretariat Head may only sign procurement-related documents that are well within the functions, duties and responsibilities of the BAC Secretariat under RA 9184 and its IRR, and do not require the exercise of discretion, approval, or consent that otherwise belongs to another authority, such as the BAC or the Head of the Procuring Entity.