MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Friday it was open to any congressional probe on the purchase of laptops that state auditors recently flagged as "outdated" and "pricey".
"The Department of Education welcomes inquiries to be made by Congress regarding the laptops procured by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for public school teachers at the height of the pandemic," DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said in a statement.
In its 2021 report, 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gathered by the COA also found that the laptops were "too slow because the processor is Intel Celeron, which is outdated."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 Thursday, Senate Minority leader Sen. Koko Pimentel III filed a resolution seeking a blue ribbon committee investigation on the matter.
Sen Risa Hontiveros said she would also file a similar resolution soon.
The education department said it would cooperate with any congressional probe.
"DepEd believes that this matter needs to be resolved immediately, and we submit to the process as we commit to transparency and accountability — even if the issue only involves an Audit Observation Memorandum, which requires the submission of documents to the Commission of Audit (COA)," Poa said.