COA findings pertain to inventory, not overpricing, says Aguinaldo

MANILA – Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Michael Aguinaldo clarified the findings of the auditing team that handled the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) pertained to the inventory management, and not the alleged overpricing of the medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

“The findings of auditing that handles PS-DBM really pertained more to inventory management and not the overpricing,” Aguinaldo said during the Senate inquiry on Tuesday.

Aguinaldo said the PS-DBM procured “quite a bit” of face masks anywhere from PHP13 to PHP27 per piece during the first few months of the pandemic.

“The problem was hindi po nadispose kasi a lot of these equipment right away so that no’ng dumating po no’ngSeptember (a lot of these equipment were not disposed right away so that when September [2020] came) and the prices went down, the regional offices and the hospitals ng DOH, ayaw nang bumili from PS-DBM kasi mahal (They don’t want to buy anymore from PS-DBM because its expensive already),” he said.

He said the PS-DBM was forced to dispose the Covid-19 supplies “at a discount” due to inventory management problem.

“Now they’re face to the problem with a lot of stock but no one wants to get because its expensive, and somapipilitan ang PS-DBM (was forced) to dispose of them at a discount. ‘Yun po ‘yung main observation doon (That’s our main observation) that there was a problem in the inventory management,” Aguinaldo said.

Former DBM Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao said the PS-DBM awarded the contract to EMS Components Assembly for the supply of face masks.

EMS chairman Ferdinand Ferrer, however, said although his company secured a 100-million piece face mask contract with the government, only 25 million face masks were bought for PHP13.50.Ferrer said the PS-DBM only paid PHP2.35 each of the remaining 75 million face masks, resulting in only total sales of PHP523 million or way below the original PHP1.3 billion contract.

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