Pimentel eyes probe on ‘pricey, outdated’ laptops procured by DepEd 

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Thursday, 11 August filed a resolution urging the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate the procurement of alleged overpriced and outdated laptops by the Department of Education (DepEd) through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) which state auditors recently flagged. 

In Senate Resolution No. 120, Pimentel stated that annually, the government earmarks billions of pesos to purchase goods and services to respond to the needs of the people. 

“Spending this huge amount entails a very big responsibility on the part of the government because of the public trust involved. On the other hand, citizens as taxpayers, have the right to expect that their government will spend these funds wisely and honestly, getting the best value for their money,” he said.

“When the procurement process is plagued with problems such as deficiencies, irregularities, and corruption, the government loses a huge amount of money. But corruption in public procurement is not just about losing money. It also reduces the quality of work or services rendered by the government to the people, in this case, our child learners,” he added. 

Pimentel said that the two agencies should explain the basis for the procurement of higher prices per unit for entry-level laptops.

“It is this imperative for the DepEd and the DBM-PS to explain the basis for the change in the unit price (fromP35,046.50 to P58,000.000) and the number of laptop units (from 68,500 to 39,583) to be procured by the DBM-PS…” he said.

Last week, the Commission on Audit (CoA) flagged the DepEd for its procurement of 39,583 laptops for public school teachers, through the PS-DBM, amounting to P2.4 billion. 

State auditors said the PS-DBM spent P58,300 for an entry-level laptop, which is considered “pricey” for an entry-level laptop. 

“The adjustments made thereof resulted in pricey computer laptops with low-end processors which adversely decreased the number of intended beneficiaries from 68,500 to 39,583 public school teachers,” CoA said in the audit report of DepEd.

The state auditors also said that it could not ascertain the basis of PS-DBM for the procurement of higher prices per unit for the entry-level laptops.

The procurement of the overpriced laptops for public school teachers was made in 2021, during the stint of former Education secretary Leonor Briones.

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