Exposed at Senate probe: DepEd-PS-DBM's 'hastily drafted' laptop contract studded with errors | Inquirer News

Exposed at Senate probe: DepEd-PS-DBM’s ‘hastily drafted’ laptop contract studded with errors

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 02:17 PM August 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines –A high-ranking official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday admitted the agreement with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) in the controversial purchase of allegedly “outdated and pricey” laptops contained errors.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, chairman Francis Tolentino exposed some issues in the memorandum of agreement signed by then DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones and then PS-DBM Executive Director Christopher Lao.


He noted that the MOA mentioned the Food and Drug Law, which doesn’t matter if one is buying laptops.


“Bakit nakasali dito ang Food and Drug Administration? Bakit nakasali ang Department of Health? Ang pinag-uusapan natin laptop, hind po ito PPE (personal protective equipment). Hindi po ito medical devices, hindi po ito medicines,” Tolentino said.

(Why are the FDA and the DOH included here? We are talking about laptops, not PPEs. Those are not medical devices; these are not medicines.)

“Hindi ho kaya mayroong de kahong kontrata na pinalitan na lang kung medicine ginawang laptop. Bakit po nakasama ang FDA? FDA is not part of this procurement process. Laptop po ito para sa DepEd,” he added.

(Is there a template contract that was used? Why was FDA mentioned here? The FDA is not part of this procurement process. This is for DepEd.)

The committee chairman believed the contract was drafted hastily, and a template contract was used. Sadly, some details from the template were not taken out.

“Ang nakikita ko rito, nabulaga sa pagamamadali ‘yung mga abogado, in-adopt na lang ‘yung de kahon pro forma na kontrata, nakalimutang alisin yung FDA. Buti hindi nalagay dito ang face masks. So laptop ang pinaguusapan natin,” he said.


(What I see here is that the lawyers seemed to be in a hurry and adopted a template contract. However, they were not unable to remove some elements. It’s good that the contract did not mention face masks since we are talking about laptops.)

“Parang hindi napag-aralan ng abogado kasi kung maayos ayos na abogado, tatanungin niya bakit kasama itong FDA law sa pagbili ng laptop?” Tolentino added.

(This was not scrutinized enough by a lawyer because he or she would have questioned why the FDA law was mentioned in the procurement of a laptop.)

In response, Atty. Salvador Malana III, DepEd assistant secretary for procurement and administration, who witnessed the signing of the agreement, admitted that it was a “big mistake” to have included the FDA law.

He also admitted that the MOA “emanated from a pro forma contract” from the PS-DBM, and was only customized for procuring the DepEd laptops.

“I agree with you, your honor, that this could be a big mistake. It was a mistake to have included the FDA law. I would also mention that this emanated from a pro forma contract from the PS-DBM,” Malana said.

Malana further admitted that there were mistakes on the part of the lawyers involved in crafting the memorandum of agreement.

“I would admit that there were mistakes not on the part of the legal department but the lawyers involved in crafting the document. But I do take responsibility for having signed as a witness. In addition, I provided the secretary inputs on the legality or propriety,” the DepEd official said.

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“We apologize, your honor, we do admit, your honor, that there was a mistake,” he added.

The Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating the DepEd’s procurement of allegedly overpriced laptops for teachers’ use during the implementation of blended learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

TAGS: DepEd, laptops, PS-DBM

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