Senate eyes probe into state trading firm after parked funds flagged


Posted at Nov 25 2020 10:48 AM

MANILA - The Senate will look into the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) after some P33 billion were supposedly parked in the small state trading firm, a senator said Wednesday.

The privilege speech of Sen. Franklin Drilon, who flagged the amount, has been referred to the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Committee chairperson Sen. Grace Poe might schedule a hearing next week, he said.

"The procurement service of DBM (Department of Budget and Management) has also been created so there might be duplication of functions here atsaka may sarili pang bids and awards committee ang mga agency," Lacson told ANC's Headstart.

(The procurement service of DBM has also been created so there might be duplication of functions here and agencies have their own bids and awards committee.)

"Why pay commission to PITC to be your procuring agency? Di rin naman sila nakakapagdeliver (They don't even deliver) on time."

The Senate will look into whether the PICT receiving 1 to 5 percent commission from state agencies is legal, Lacson said.

Drilon had expressed concern that the firm would be tapped to lead the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. With a 1 percent commission, the PITC could earn about P200 million.

Government agencies tap the PITC when they are supposed to purchase goods and products, "and pass on the budget there so that they will say it is already obligated when in truth and fact it is just deposited," Drilon earlier said.

"Stunted 'yung development in some ways dahil 'di nagagamit ang pondo na dapat available at mare-realign sana sa ibang paggagamitan," Lacson said.

(The agencies' development is stunted in some ways because funds that should be available and can be realigned is not used.)

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