Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday claimed the previous administration bought pricier personal protective equipment (PPE) amid allegations linking the Duterte government to the purchase of overpriced medical supplies.

In a Palace briefing, Roque said the PPEs the government purchased at the height of the pandemic were not overpriced.

“Overpriced ba raw po ito? Hindi po! Kasi noong mga panahon na iyon biglaan ngang lahat ng bansa ay naghahanap ng PPEs,” Roque said.

In backing his statement, Roque claimed PPEs purchased during the Aquino administration were the ones that should be flagged for being overpriced.

“P1,700 sabi nila overpriced! E ang binili ng administrasyon ni Presidente Aquino, P3,500! Kailan? Sept. 28, 2015. Matter of days bago bumaba sa puwesto ang Aquino administration magkano ang binili na PPE? P3,800 – June 23, 2016, ilang araw bago bumaba sa puwesto! Pitong araw bago bumaba sa puwesto!” Roque said.

“Kapag ikaw nagduro, apat na daliri ang nakaturo sa inyo. Ganiyan po ang nangyari doon sa diumano overpriced PPE,” he added.

After his presentation, Roque called out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon of the opposition.

“Senator Drilon, please explain bakit ang mga kakampi mo doble ang halaga ng binili para sa mga PPEs sa panahon na wala pa pong pandemya. Mayroon po talagang kumita, hindi po sa administrasyon na ito,” the Duterte spokesman said.

‘Like a troll’

Drilon said Roque’s claims were “very unmanly,” “desperate” and “spoken like a true troll.

“It is very malicious and it is a futile attempt to divert attention away from this organized plunder,” Drilon said.

Senators have been questioning the administration’s links to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., a small company that had been the government’s biggest supplier of medical supplies amid the pandemic.

Pharmally was incorporated in 2019 with a capital south of P600,000. The corporation won pandemic contracts amounting to P8.68 billion, including a P3.82 billion contract for personal protective equipment that was flagged by Sen. Risa Hontiveros as overpriced. John Ezekiel J. Hirro