‘No one’s off the hook’: Pimentel says as Senate probes pricey laptops
MANILA, Philippines — No one is off the hook as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigates the “pricey but outdated” purchase of laptops worth P2.4 billion for public school teachers, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Friday.
Pimentel said that the hearings on the deal involving the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) are still far from over.
“Wala pong off the hook kasi umpisa pa lang tayo e. Di ba ang ginawa ni Chairman [Francis] Tolentino step by step or stages,” Pimentel said in a press briefing.
“Nandon pa siya sa pre-bidding stage, so wala pang off the hook kasi nga ang layo pa natin sa katapusan ng hearing natin. Malayong-malayo pa po. So no one is off the hook,” he added.
Further, Pimentel said the Senate panel should not approve the request of former PS-DBM head Lloyd Christopher Lao to give him clearance from any case so he can travel abroad.
In Lao’s letter to Tolentino, the former PS-DBM official asked for a certification clearance that he has “no pending case, contempt charges, and/or warrant of arrest before the blue ribbon committee.”
“‘Yung request niya to be excused from the hearings hindi dapat pagbigyan ‘yon, dahil sa MOA—memorandum of agreement. Ang nakapirma on behalf of PS-DBM eh si Christopher Lloyd Lao pa rin,” Pimentel said.
“So napaka-aga pa na sabihin niya na ‘wag na siya mag-attend ng hearing dahil wala siyang kinalaman sa transaksyon kasi meron eh. Sa MOA andoon eh. So wala munang off the hook, wala munang excused from the hearings,” he added.