The Senate Blue Ribbon committee has recommended graft and corruption charges against education and budget officials involved in the procurement of “overpriced” laptops in 2021.

In a report released on Thursday, the blue ribbon committee said the laptops procured by the Department of Education (DepEd) through the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) were overpriced by P979 million.

In its 2021 audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the DepEd for procuring P2.4-billion worth of laptops worth P58,300 each.

Nearly 40,000 units of the entry-level laptop model were bought by the government supposedly to aid teachers amid the implementation of distance learning at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when schools remained shut.

Former PS-DBM officer-in-charge executive director Lloyd Christopher Lao and former DepEd undersecretary Alain del Pascua were recommended to be charged for violating Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The blue ribbon committee also recommended charges against the following:

  • Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla
  • Former Education Assistant Secretary Salvador Malana III
  • DepEd Director Abran Abanil
  • DepEd former Executive Assistant Alec Ladanga
  • Former PS-DBM officer in charge Executive Director Jasonmer Uayan
  • PS-DBM Bids and Awards Committee chairperson Ulysses Mora
  • Engr. Marwan Amil of the PS-DBM
  • Other members of the Special Bids and Awards Committee I and SBAC technical working group and secretariat, whether from DepEd or PS-DBM

No charges were recommended against former DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones as Sen. Francis Tolentino, the blue ribbon committee chairman, said she was “used” during the procurement period. John Ezekiel J. Hirro