‘Overpriced’ PPE claims only a ‘publicity stunt’ – Marcoleta
MANILA, Philippines — The so-called evidence, presented by Senator Risa Hontiveros, of alleged overpricing in the government’s purchase of personal protective equipment is merely a “publicity stunt” to taint the administration, a lawmaker said Thursday.
Hontiveros earlier claimed the government may have lost at least P1 billion in taxpayer money after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) purchased allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) from five Chinese companies.
She identified 11 contracts that the DBM entered into in April and May to procure millions of personal protective equipment (PPE)
But Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta said what Hontiveros presented to the media only proved that she has no evidence and “can’t prove a baseless claim.”
“Senator Hontiveros bristles at criticisms for not presenting hard evidence to back her claims. However, what she presented to the media only confirmed what we’ve known all along; she has no evidence and she can’t prove a baseless claim of overpricing because there’s none,” he said in a statement.
He said that none of the documents show that the PPEs purchased were overpriced.
“Something can only be deemed overpriced if it can be shown that other companies, Filipinos or otherwise, supplied PPE sets to the government with the same specifications, quality, and stock availability at lower prices,” Marcoleta said.
“Without a clear price comparison, allegations of overpricing are simply figments of her imagination,” he added.
Marcoleta said the senator could have presented a comparative matrix backed by receipts or other documents showing her claimed price disparity.
The senator’s claim that the Philippine General Hospital purchased PPEs at a much lower price could only pertain to old, existing stocks from retail outlets, Marcoleta said.
This is as no Philippine company could meet the government’s massive emergency requirements, he added.
“It’s a fact that test kits and PPE prices jumped astronomically around April and May as countries tried to outbid each other for much-needed supplies for their front liners. Prices only stabilized as production started to cope with demand by July-August,” the party-list lawmaker said.
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