‘Overpriced?’ Roque turns table on opposition, says PPEs bought during Aquino admin costlier
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday turned the table against the opposition, claiming the personal protective equipment (PPE) bought by the previous administration were even more costlier than those procured by the Duterte administration during the pandemic.
In his regular press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque likewise denied that PPEs sourced by the government for use of health care workers were overpriced, bought at P1,700 each at the height of the pandemic in 2020, and which are now under the scrutiny of Congress.
“Overpriced ba raw po ito? Hindi po. Kasi yung mga panahon na yun, biglang lahat ng bansa ay naghahanap ng PPEs,” Roque said in a press briefing.
(Is this overpriced? No. During this time, all countries were suddenly looking for PPEs.)
“Sa katanuyan, pruweba na hindi po ito overpriced, magkano ba ang binili, magkano yung presyo ng PPE na binili ng Aquino administration? P3,500. Kailan? September 28, 2015. Matter of days bago bumaba sa puwesto ang Aquino administration, magkano binili na PPE? P3,800, June 23, 2016,” he added.
(In fact, proof that this is not overpriced, how much are the PPEs bought under the Aquino administration? P3,500. When? On September 28, 2015. In a matter of days before the Aquino administration stepped down, how much was the PPE they bought? P3,800, June 23, 2016.)
Roque also singled out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, urging him to explain why the PPEs bought by his allies were “double the price.”
“Senator Drilon, please explain bakit ang mga kakampi mo, doble ang halaga ng binili para sa mga PPEs sa panahon na wala pa pong pandemya?” Roque said.
(Senator Drilon, please explain why your allies bought PPEs at double the price during a time when there was no pandemic yet.)
“Meron po talagang kumita, hindi po sa administrasyon na ito,” he went on.
(Someone surely made money, but not under this administration.)
Senator Risa Hontiveros had questioned the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for its procurement of PPEs from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. which she said was marked by the Taiwanese government for financial fraud.
As early as September 2020, Hontiveros expressed alarm over the PPEs procured saying it was bought at a “very conservative” overprice of P1 billion.
In response, the DBM said the government actually saved P800 million from the emergency purchases of the PPEs from Chinese companies.
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