Unless an original copy of the contract is obtained, the Bacolod City government will not pay whatever balance the previous administration incurred from the procurement of AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19.
As of today, July 14, lawyer Lyzander Dilag, the mayor’s spokesperson, said that the City Legal Office could not locate a copy of the contract signed by previous mayor Evelio Leonardia with AstraZeneca.
According to Dilag, the CLO’s position is not to pay the pharmaceutical firm based on the draft contract, emphasizing that the city cannot settle a contractual obligation when there is no original contract. He underscored: “it will make us vulnerable from a legal point of view”.
Asked if the city will reach out to the previous to secure the original contract, Dilag said they will suggest it to CLO.
However, having the original signed contract does not ensure that the city would pay its remaining obligations to AstraZeneca, since the contract will still be evaluated, according to Dilag.
Dilag explained the pronouncement of Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez that he will try his best not to pay AstraZeneca is in the context that it does not hold an original copy of the signed agreement.
The mayor is simply initiating this because he wanted to protect the interest of the city, Dilag said.
A representative of AstraZeneca recently met with Benitez and requested for a payment of the remaining balance of P98 million for the 650,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the Leonardia administration.