Published: Friday 22 June, 2018

SC Purchase of CJ Sereno’s P5 Million Toyota Land Cruiser was Unlawful: COA

The bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was purchased unlawfully. On Friday, a Commission on Audit (COA) memorandum surfaced stating that the supposed bidding for the P5 million luxury vehicle was irregular as it was contrary to procurement laws.

Sereno Land Cruiser

Sereno’s Toyota land Cruiser was purchased unlawfully – COA. (Manila Times photo)

The purchase of the Toyota Land Cruiser was among the charges against Maria Lourdes Sereno in the impeachment complaint filed against her by Atty. Larry Gadon in the House of Representatives. 

In a four-page Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) dated June 1, 2018, the COA  said the purchase was contrary to the Government Procurement Reform Act.

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“Management used the detailed technical specifications of the Toyota Land Cruiser as reference to the bidding documents in the public bidding conducted for the procurement of a motor vehicle, hence contrary to Section 18, Rule VI, of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9184,” said COA in its memorandum sent to Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio.

“Moreover, the price of the Toyota Land Cruiser amounting to P5,110,500.00 was also used as the Approved Budget for the Contract [ABC] without market analysis or basis to determine if it was the most advantageous prevailing price for the Supreme Court, contrary to Section 36, Rule X, also of the Revised IRR of RA 9184. Such procedures prevented other suppliers from participating and the reasonableness of the purchase price cannot be assured, thereby defeating the purpose of the public bidding.”

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Maria Lourdes Sereno has always maintained that the purchase of her bullet-proof luxury vehicle was above board. The Commission on Audit disagrees. Now we know that had her impeachment trial pushed through, Sereno would likely be impeached if only for this issue.

On Wednesday, Sereno returned the Toyota Land Cruiser to the Supreme Court, according to GMA News, a day after her ouster was finalized by the high court.