COA did not say PS-DBM purchase of pandemic supplies ‘overpriced’ – chair
MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Michael Aguinaldo clarified Wednesday that their audit report never stated that the purchase of pandemic supplies by the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) was “overpriced.”
During a hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability, Aguinaldo explained that “observations” in the COA report “relate more to inventory management than overpricing.”
The House panel is probing the PS-DBM’s purchase of materials for the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response following a COA report flagging the Department of Health’s (DOH) transfer of P42 billion pandemic funds to agencies, including the PS-DBM.
In a separate investigation at the Senate, it was revealed that a huge chunk of the funds was used to buy equipment from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which sold the items at a price higher than other companies.
“Ang masasabi ko lang po is wala po sa COA report ng PS-DBM ang statement na may overpricing po, there’s no statement to that. The observations relate more to inventory management than overpricing,” Aguinaldo said at the start of the House hearing.
(What I can say is that it is not stated in the COA report on PS-DBM that there was overpricing, there’s no statement to that. The observations relate more to inventory management than overpricing.)
“So hindi po tama na sabihing ang COA ang nagsabi na may overpriced, kasi wala po sinabi ‘yon. Anyway, nandito po kami to be able to provide clarification to any of the questions the committee members will ask,” he added.
(So it is not right to say that COA was the one who said that there was overpricing, because we did not say that. Anyway, we are here to be able to provide clarification to any of the questions the committee members will ask.)
The congressional investigations were an offshoot of the COA report that marked deficiencies in the DOH’s spending of its 2020 COVID-19 funds. The COA report likewise highlighted the P42 billion transfers made by the health agency to its procuring partners such as the PS-DBM.
Some P8.7 billion of the funds were discovered to have been transferred to Pharmally, which, in the course of the investigations, was found to just have a small capital of P625,000. Consequently, the Senate probe focused on Pharmally, which sold face masks at P27 per piece — compared to another local supplier that sold the same item at only P13 each.
During the Senate hearings, it was also revealed that what Pharmally did was to ask local and Chinese suppliers to provide the items, which they then delivered to the government.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.