/ 16 February 2023

THE SENATE has adopted the report of the Blue Ribbon committee on the overpriced and outdated laptop procured by the Department of Education through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management.

The committee chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino recommended the filing of charges against several DepEd and DBM officials involved in the procurement of overpriced laptops in 2021.

It was only Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada who voted against the 197-page committee report.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III manifested that he filed a separate opinion to the report and would no longer move to amend it.

The Blue Ribbon committee found that the contract for the supply and delivery of laptop computers for public school teachers was overpriced by at least P979 million.

Charges of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were recommended against the officials of the DepEd and PS-DBM.

The DepEd was supposed to procure 68,500 laptop units but reduced it to 39,583 due to the huge increase in the estimated cost – from P35,046 to P58,300 per piece – based on the PS-DBM’s recommendation, which was accepted by the education department.

The committee said that civil cases be initiated against the DepEd and the PS-DBM to collect and recover the value of the overpriced laptops in the amount of at least P979 million, including accrued interest and damages.