Press Release
August 25, 2022

Hontiveros: 'PS-DBM breeding ground of corruption, irregularities found in various govt agencies'

Senator Risa Hontiveros bared that the Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged P6.5B worth of irregularities under procurements of the Department of Budget Management Procurement Service (PS-DBM) across multiple agencies as of Thursday, August 25.

The senator revealed the anomalies during the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) hearing on the overpriced laptops procured for the Department of Education (DepEd) by the controversial PS-DBM.

"The PS-DBM is a breeding ground of inefficiency, negligence, and corruption. A whopping P6.5B worth of irregularities in 2021 alone, a history of dubious transactions, at hindi pa kumpleto ang mga COA reports niyan. What has been uncovered so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Mukhang nakasanayan na ng PS-DBM ang modus nila," she said.

"The fact that this spans multiple agencies is a huge red flag. So many government programs are affected by this, and during a pandemic year at that. Ang dami sana nating nagawa at natulungan," the senator added.

In their 2021 annual report, COA flagged the PS-DBM for its failure to provide proof of purchases, or the non-delivery of items amounting to the following: P1.696B between 2010-2021 for the Philippine National Police (PNP), P795.7M for the Department of Agrarian Reform, P704.9M for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and P60.36M for the Department of Technology and Information (DTI). The P2.4B worth of overpriced laptops for the Department of Education (DepEd) and P185.6M worth of deficiencies in PS-DBM's distribution of COVID-19 items in relation to the Department of Health (DOH) were also included in the report.

COA also flagged unliquidated amounts of PS-DBM transactions for the following agencies: BFAR at P31.1M, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries at P22.73M, Philippine Trade Training Center at P11.828M, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority at P8.975M, the Mines and Geosciences under DENR at P8.125 M, Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines at P3.192M, National Water Resources Board at P176,000 and P1.646M for prior years, Board of Investments at P1.053M and P635,570 for prior years, and NAMRIA attached to DENR at P358,802.68.

The independent audit agency reported that large unutilized or excess advances in the PS-DBM budget were unremitted to the Bureau of Treasury: P511.37M for the Bureau of Fire Protection, P22.99M undelivered under the Philippine Navy, P17.5M for the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), P13.86M for the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and P10.64M unremitted for the Bureau of Immigration.

Hontiveros said that in light of this information she 'strongly' supports calls from fellow senators to abolish the PS-DBM, but believes that it is the 'just the first step'. The senator said that she will file a resolution for the Senate's consideration to abolish the PS-DBM and investigate all its transactions. She also urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the COA reports.

"Abolishing it is urgent, but that is just a band-aid solution if we end the story there. More importantly, I want every peso explained and accounted for, and every official held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," she said.

"Naghahanap tayo ng pera? Andito lang pala, nakatengga sa PS-DBM. This will have serious implications for our budget deliberations and appointment hearings soon," she added.

The Senate debates for the National Expenditure Program (NEP) begin in September. The Commission on Appointments (CA) will also hold its first hearing soon.

"These anomalies are too large to go unnoticed. The PS-DBM is a failure we urgently need to rectify. Some in the agency seem to be so emboldened as to commit corruption on such a large scale. They thought wrong. I look forward to investigating this in the Blue Ribbon Committee hearings. We must reconsider the existence of the PS-DBM, and bring those accountable to justice," the senator concluded. ###


Please see attached presentation and document

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