DepEd’s Purchase of PHP 2.4 Billion-worth Laptops has ‘No Legal Basis’ – Senators

DepEd laptop purchase no legal basis

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The Department of Education’s (DepEd) “outdated” laptop procurement saga has just started. In the last Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on this last September 15, Senators say the purchase worth PHP 2.4 billion has no ‘legal basis’ after learning that the procurement went through without the signed memorandum of agreement (MOA).

This is based on a statement from DepEd former procurement director Marcelo Bragado Jr.

Former DepEd exec speaks up

Bragado said at the hearing that the MOA between the DepEd and the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) was signed on May 28, 2021.

This is contrary to a statement of other DepEd officials and PS-DBM former officer-in-charge executive director Jasonmer Uayan, who said that the MOA was signed on February 16, 2021.

In effect, this whole procurement is defective. There’s no legal basis. We spent P2.4 billion without a MOA. They asked for quotation and filed invitation to bid without a MOA. Is that an accurate description, Atty. Bragado?” asked Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

Bragado responded, “It would appear, your honor, that you are correct. Because based on the documents I have and my personal recollection, I have the MOA signed only last May 28, 2021.”

DepEd laptop purchase no legal basis

However, Uayan said that this claim was inaccurate. “That is not entirely accurate. If you can check closely, I think it was also him (Bragado) who endorsed to our office the notarized document which was dated February 16, 2021,”

DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla back this as she said that she had the documents in her office that showed that the MOA was signed on February 16.

We will even submit the official receipt of the notarial services made by the office of Director Bragado because this was reimbursed in the accounting office,” she said.

Bragado responded by saying he had no idea of the notarization and it may have been his staff or Sevilla’s staff that had the MOA notarized.

Bragado was granted use immunity by the Senate blue ribbon committee after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III moved to provide it. Use immunity restricts the use of witness testimony against the witness.

Mr. Chairman [Senator Francis Tolentino], since you mentioned that the witness will be testifying freely on his knowledge on immaterial matter or immaterial transaction, but he’s under — he may be under tremendous pressure — so as to help put him at ease and so that he can really express what he knows, I move that this committee, the blue ribbon committee, grant to the witness use immunity from suit from what he would be testifying on,” said Pimentel.

Sources 1, 2

Ram found his love and appreciation for writing in 2015 having started in the gaming and esports sphere for GG Network. He would then transition to focus more on the world of tech which has also began his journey into learning more about this world. That said though, he still has the mentality of "as long as it works" for his personal gadgets.

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