House panel approves judiciary procurement rules

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THE House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations on Wednesday approved the  proposed procurement rules of the judiciary.

During a meeting in the speaker’s conference room, the committee members agreed to adopt the updated version of the proposed procurement rules, the committee chairman, Rep. Joel Camacho, said.

The updated version has addressed the concerns of the Office of the Public Auditor, he added.

Public Auditor Mike Pai earlier said that the one-time publication of an invitation to bid as proposed in the original version of the proposed procurement rules is “inadequate.”

In addition, the purchase thresholds of $5,000 to $25,000 for the bidding requirement “is far higher than CNMI procurement rules of $2,500 to $10,000. These high thresholds could potentially lead to less competition, higher prices and unchecked favoritism,” Pai said.

For his part, Attorney General Edward Manibusan, a former Superior Court presiding judge, told the committee the “the judiciary may propose rules governing the administration of the judiciary.”

The proposed procurement rules, he added, are a necessary part of the administrative functions of the judiciary.

Chief Justice Alexandro Castro and Presiding Judge Roberto Naraja told Senate President Victor Hocog and Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao that since the disapproval of the original version of the proposed procurement rules, the judiciary has re-evaluated and updated the proposed rules in light of the concerns raised by lawmakers and OPA.

Rep. Joel Camacho said now that the judiciary has addressed the concerns, “the committee is ready to accept the final version of its procurement rules.”



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