Defensor claims overpricing in QC food packs; LGU calls it ‘propaganda’
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor claims the food packs distributed in Quezon City were overpriced by more than P179 million, but the city government was quick to dismiss this as mere “propaganda.”
During the deliberations on the proposed 2022 budget of the Commission on Audit (COA), Defensor said that the food packs distributed by the city government to its residents, if based on price in the market, only costs P636.
With 350,000 food packs distributed, Defensor said the cost should only be around P222.6 million. However, the lawmaker noted that the food packs cost stated in the records reached P402.49 million.
“If you put it altogether, P179 million ang overpriced. Nagtataka ako, nakita ba ito ng auditor ninyo sa Quezon City?” Defensor said.
(If you put it all together, it is overpriced by P179 million. Did the auditor in Quezon City see this?)
“I’m sure this is not just happening in Quezon City,” the lawmaker added.
In response, COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo said they would have to check with their auditor in Quezon City.
But Quezon City legal head Atty. Orlando Casimiro dismissed Defensor’s claims as “propaganda” amid the nearing 2022 elections.
“As the election season intensifies, certain individuals are once again making false allegations against the Quezon City Government, in a bitter attempt to advance their political agenda,” Casimiro said in a statement.
“Despite the fact that their previous allegations were proven to be false, they remain undeterred. This time, their propaganda involves the allegedly overpriced food packs that our LGU procured last December 2020,” he added.
According to Casimiro, prices of food and grocery items increase every Christmas season—the same time when the food packs were distributed.
“Grocery shelves were empty and stocks were hard to find. The prices of goods at the time the purchase order was made were clearly not the same, in fact much higher, than the current market prices that this group is ridiculously using as a reference,” Casimiro said.
“Sana po gumawa kayo ng konting research, tutal libre naman po ito [I hope you did a bit of research, in fact it is free],” he added.
Casimiro also dubbed Defensor’s price estimates as “oversimplified”, adding that “it is with obvious malice that our detractors purposely left out other items in their ‘computation’.”
“From a total of 12 items in the official procurement, only nine items were included in their calculation. Also consciously omitted are the indispensable packaging costs, the labor and logistical costs of handling, repacking and delivery, costs of warehousing, and the supplier’s taxes,” Casimiro said.
Casimiro added that COA has examined the accounts of the Quezon City government, including the transaction in question, and has recognized it with the highest COA rating in the city’s history.
“Once again, therefore, we ask the same question we have fielded before: Kanino tayo maniniwala? Sa COA, o sa bayarang troll?” Casimiro asked.
(Who do we believe? COA or paid trolls?)
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