COA chief: Audit report on PS-DBM did not state overpricing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — The head of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday clarified the audit report on the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) did not mention any overpricing.

"There was nothing in the report that mentioned overprice. One of the issues really was inventory management," COA chairman Mike Aguinaldo told House lawmakers.

The inventory management issue also does not involve the ₱42-billion transferred by the Department of Health (DOH) to the PS-DBM, he added.

"This really involved more 'yung mga [of the] purchases of PS-DBM out of its revolving fund for the virtual store that they have from which agencies can purchase," Aguinaldo said.

During its own probe into the issue, senators questioned what they called "overpriced" face masks and face shields procured by the Health department during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong — a former PS-DBM director — also insisted there was no overpricing in the purchase of COVID-19 supplies last year.

The Senate and the House have been conducting separate investigations on the DOH's handling of pandemic response funds funds, including the procurement of face masks and face shields. Also at the center of these inquiries is Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which bagged billions of pesos in contracts despite having an initial paid-up capital of just ₱625,000.