By Alexandra Gabrielle Francisco
GradCom issued a statement on its Facebook account in response to a column published on Friday in the Manila Standard Today accusing GradCom of awarding the yearbook contract in favor of studios offering “under-the-table” deals.
Columnist Jojo Robles wrote that the students staged a “rigged” bidding process in favor of suppliers who promised liquor, food, unlimited photos and a free car.
The students denied receiving any perks that influenced the selection of the studio for the yearbook, noting that it was selected through a set of objective standards and a vote among the graduating batch.
No free car
“No studio has promised a car, liquor, food, or any other photo package privileges apart from those stipulated in their respective contracts of agreement that the Committee has vigilantly reviewed,” said the committee.
GradCom said some studios gave food and drinks, but only out of courtesy to possible clients.
Documents from the GradCom show that no liquor was ever served during meetings with the studios.
In addition, the committee said it participated in only three test shots, contrary to Robles’ claim of unlimited photos.
GradCom also denied that any public bidding, as defined by the law, took place.
According to the statement, the graduating batch voted upon a list of studios that the committee selected, based on meet-ups and feedback from past and present clients.
Only two studios out of the four candidates were presented to the batch because some were unable to meet the committee’s standards, which are professionalism in deliveries and meeting deadlines, accessibility and quality of output.
“Although the Committee considered these studios’ packages, it was primarily negative feedback from their clients that drove the Committee to decline them,” said the committee.
GradCom head Joaquin Daniel Barretto said, “We wanted to release a statement as early as Saturday, but we wanted to thread the facts.”
Yearbook committee head Maria Patrixia Aguinaldo dared Robles and his source to produce “tangible evidence” for their claims.
In its statement, GradCom demanded a retraction and apology from Robles for putting the college in a bad light.
College Secretary Danilo Arao advised the GradCom in a meeting on Monday to treat the issue as calmly as possible.
“I hope that GradCom can meet this issue head-on,” said Arao.
NOTE: Franz Jonathan de la Fuente, Editor in Chief of Tinig ng Plaridel, also serves as Secretariat of the CMC GradCom. De la Fuente has not in any way contributed to the writing or editing of this article.