MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called Malacañang's move to question the past administration’s purchase of personal protective equipment, a “lame attempt” to divert the issue hounding the current administration.
Robredo's remarks came after Malacañang said the Aquino administration bought PPEs at a costlier P3,500 to P3,800 per set, just as senators questioned the current administration’s purchase of medical supplies, including allegedly overpriced PPEs at P1,700 per set, for the pandemic.
“Napaka-lame attempt naman nito para i-divert ang usapan,” said Robredo in her weekly radio show.
(It's a lame attempt to divert the discussion.)
Robredo said the procurement of the pricier PPEs during the Aquino administration was aboveboard, unlike the Duterte administration's purchase which was done without public bidding and whose suppliers and background are being questioned.
“Yung nanalo (ng deal) ngayon, magkano ba pinanalunan niya? Mga 10 billion. Bagong organized ang kumpanya, napakababa ng capitalization, walang opisina tapos ang mga tao pa na kabahagi ng kompanya ay meron pang criminal record sa Taiwan. Ang daming kwestyon,” she said.
(The company that won the deal, how much was the contract? Around P10 billion. The firm was newly organized, had a low capital, no office, and employees who have criminal record in Taiwan. There are too many questions.)
She added that current officials should have done their due diligence and determined whether the foreign suppliers were reliable and had a good background.
Robredo said Malacañang could have tapped local suppliers.
“Ang pinaguusapan dito ay napakalaking pera eh, isang company lang ito, billion. Di nga P1 billion ang budget namin (OVP) pero ang dami naming napo-provide. Noong nagkakaubusan, nag-local suppliers pa kami para nagbibigay pa kami ng trabaho sa mga Pilipino. Pero ito, ang dami nang questionable, hindi pa Pilipino ang nakinabang,” she said.
(We're talk about such a hug money for one company, billions. Our (OVP) budget is not even P1 billion but we can provide so much. When things were in short supply, we gave jobs to Filipinos. In this issue, there are so many questionable things and Filipinos did not even benefit.)
Duterte last week said the Senate should not investigate ongoing programs, accusing senators of using the probe "for no purpose at all but to create noise."
Robredo belongs to the same political party as the late former President Benigno Aquino.