Press Release
August 26, 2023

Koko to Ombudsman: Examine contractor's role in overpriced laptop deal, recover taxpayer's money

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Saturday called on the Ombudsman to go after the contractors involved in the multi-billion-peso laptop procurement deals, marred by allegations of irregularities.

The senator likewise urged the anti-corruption body to undertake vigorous efforts in reclaiming public funds used in the anomalous deals.

"The Ombudsman's decision to impose preventive suspension sends a strong signal that any alleged wrongdoing will be treated seriously. It is equally vital to thoroughly examine the role of the contractor in this anomalous transaction, from its background to how it secured the contract," Pimentel said.

Pimentel issued the statement in response to the recent decision of the Ombudsman to impose a preventive suspension on officials from the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) over the contentious procurement of "outdated and overpriced" laptops for teachers.

"It is imperative for the Ombudsman to regain taxpayers' money, expended on items that did not align with the government's actual needs," Pimentel stressed.

The contract was awarded by PS-DBM to Sunwest Construction and Development Corp., LDLA Marketing and Trading Inc., and VST ECS Philippines Inc.

Pimentel is the author of Senate Resolution No. 120, which called for a comprehensive investigation into the laptop procurement carried out by DepEd through PS-DBM.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee found out that the joint-venture companies failed to meet the technical specifications required for the laptops, rendering them unsuitable for the teachers' needs. Additionally, the companies were unable to complete the delivery within the agreed target dates outlined in the procurement contract

"Our citizens deserve to know the exact circumstances that led to the selection of the joint venture comprising Sunwest Construction and Development Corp., LDLA Marketing and Trading Inc., and VST ECS Philippines Inc. for this significant procurement," Pimentel stressed.

"We must delve into the specifics of how these companies managed to secure the contract. Were there any irregularities in the bidding process? We must uncover the truth behind this contentious procurement to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future," he said.

Meanwhile, Pimentel castigated PS-DBM over its failure to promptly blacklist the suppliers involved in the anomalous laptop deals in accordance with the recommendation of the Commission on Audit (COA).

"Where's the hesitation coming from? We cannot help but question whether PS-DBM is in collusion with these suppliers, leading to such reluctance," he added.

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