Senate blue ribbon panel probe on sugar import, DepEd laptop fiascos set next week
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate blue ribbon committee will begin investigations next week on the controversial “pricey and outdated” laptops for public school teachers and the “illegal” resolution on the importation of 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar into the country.
The Senate panel’s inquiries into the sugar import mess and the questionable procurement of laptops are set on August 23 and August 25, respectively.
“We have a consensus. We tackle first the privilege speech of the honorable Senate President [Juan Miguel Zubiri] on Tuesday relative to the Sugar Order No. 4,” Senator Francis Tolentino said during the committee’s hearing Wednesday. Tolentino chairs the Senate blue ribbon committee.
“Thereafter, on Thursday, August 25, we tackle [Proposed Senate] Resolution 120 and other related resolutions relative to the laptops bought by PS-DBM (Department of Budget and Management – Procurement Service),” he added.
The sugar importation issue stemmed from the publication of Sugar Order No. 4, authorizing the importation of an additional 300,000MT of the sweet substance, on the website of the Sugar Regulatory Administration – which Malacañang quickly disowned, asserting that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is concurrent Agriculture Secretary, rejected such importation.
The purchase of allegedly overpriced and outdated laptops for public school teachers, meanwhile, was initially flagged by the Commission on Audit. The Department of Education bought the laptops through the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management.
Ahead of the Senate blue ribbon committee’s inquiries, Tolentino named on Wednesday two people who shall serve as legal consultant and general counsel of the panel.
“For the record, pursuant to our existing rules and the old rules, this committee, the chair, will be having a senior legal consultant in the name of former Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang,” he said.
“Likewise, the committee will have a general counsel, pursuant to our rules, in the person of the former Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera will act as the general counsel of this committee,” he also said.
Mosquera took his oath before Tolentino prior to the adjournment of the committee hearing.
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