Ex-DBM exec Lao willing to appear before Senate probe on DOH funds
MANILA, Philippines — The resigned head of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) Lloyd Lao on Friday expressed willingness to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry on the Department of Health (DOH) audit report.
It was Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon who said Lao should testify at the ongoing probe on the allegedly overpriced face masks and face shields purchased by the DOH through the PS-DBM which was flagged by the Commission on Audit.
“Of course, it’s my responsibility and I am willing to attend, to shed light on the matter. I believe in the objectivity of the Senate, the Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Senator [Richard] Gordon, it is fair and just and it is a proper and appropriate avenue for me to shed light on what actually transpired,” Lao said in a televised briefing.
“It’s actually a good thing kasi people make assumptions without all the facts, it’s best that all facts are laid and the best one of the appropriate avenues is the Senate blue ribbon committee. I would attend definitely as long as circumstances allow it,” he added.
Senators expressed suspicion over the face masks and face shields bought at P27.72 and P120 per piece, respectively, in early 2020.
Drilon even said there may be overpricing of around P1 billion in the purchase of these items.
Lao explained these were the cheapest they could find at the time it was procured.
Ties with Bong Go?
Meanwhile, Lao decried as “unfair” assertions that he is an “aide” of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
“Ever since, they’ve always been doing that. Tie you to a politician to make my job politicized,” Lao said when sought to clarify his ties with Go.
Lao said he “got lucky” when he was appointed as undersecretary of the Presidential Management Staff. Thereafter, he worked for Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board and later for DBM before resigning in June.
“To politicize that I am connected to this and to that, there’s these transactions, but I’m not a politician. I’m just like any other Filipino who wants to try this profession. That’s it,” Lao said.
“To politicize it is also very unfair for the politicians tied to me, that’s unfair to them more so for me. Because I’m doing this for my own profession, my own uplift,” he went on.
Go himself also denied that Lao ever worked for him.
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