Senate probe on 'pricey, outdated' laptops for teachers sought

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2022 12:22 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2022 02:05 PM


MANILA (UPDATE) — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has asked the chamber to look into the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service's (PS-DBM) purchase of P2.4 billion worth of laptops, which state auditors tagged as overpriced and "too slow."

Pimentel filed a resolution, made public on Thursday, asking the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to "conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the alleged overpriced and outdated laptops" procured by PS-DBM on behalf of the Department of Education.

The investigation's goal is to identify accountability and make changes to procurement laws and processes, if necessary, based on the resolution.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she would also file a resolution seeking the same probe.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Francis Tolentino has yet to respond to media queries regarding the request to look into the laptop procurement.

The DepEd earlier said it welcomed congressional inquiries on the purchase of the laptops.

In its 2021 audit report on the DepEd, the COA described the laptops as "pricey" at P58,3000 per unit, despite the education agency's initial estimated cost of around P35,000.

The laptops were intended to aid public school teachers in distance learning, but the higher pricing led to fewer beneficiaries, from 68,500 down to 39,583.

Feedback gathered by the COA also found that the laptops were "too slow because the processor is Intel Celeron, which is outdated."

On Wednesday, DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency would evaluate the claim that the laptops were slow.

If proven that the devices were indeed slow, the DepEd will invoke a warranty provision and ask the supplier to fix or replace the laptops, Poa said.

Poa said the DepEd also asked PS-DBM for documentation on the procurement.

— With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

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