MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - A critic of the Aquino government on Friday likened Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) to former First Lady Imelda Marcos for buying expensive laptops worth P67,000 each.
Fernando Hicap, chairman of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), said that instead of buying Apple laptops worth P67,000 each, Carandang should just buy other brands of laptops worth P20,000 to P30,000 per unit.
"If Mr. Carandang only checked the internet, there are a lot of brands of laptops which his office could buy between P20,000 to P30,000 per unit. P20,000 is 200% cheaper compared to P67,000. A P30,000 laptop is more than 100% cheaper compared to P 67,000 laptop. Is Mr. Carandang the newest Imelda Marcos in Malacanang?" the Pamalakaya leader lamented.
Hicap said the government could have saved as much as P880,000 to P1.2 million if it had purchased laptops worth P30,000 each.
He blamed President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for tolerating "this bizarre and blatant display of extreme extravagance" and said Carandang and his staff at PCDSPO should just use their own money if they want to buy expensive laptops.
A Malacañang spokeswoman, meanwhile, came to Carandang's defense.
“I don't think Sec. Carandang has that many pairs of shoes," said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte. "Seriously, we've disproven the allegations, it should end there.”
The controversial procurement of 24 units of Apple laptops recently sparked a word war between Carandang and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay. The congresswoman alleged that Carandang had pressured a colleague to sign for the purchase of overpriced laptop computers for the Palace communications group without the mandatory bidding.
Carandang, however, said Magsaysay should apologize for falsely accusing his department of corruption in procuring computers, based on allegations of a former director of the department who had resigned.
He said the government was able to save money by procuring from a supplier 24 units of Apple MacBooks of varying specs worth P1,671,480.00, averaging P66,000 to P67,000 each when the market price for each unit costs more. Another supplier quoted a total price of P1,884,800.00.