'Where's Lao?' Roque believes ex-DBM procurement head still in PH

Published September 2, 2021, 4:32 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque believes that the controversial former Procurement Service (PS) executive director Christopher Lloyd Lao is still in the Philippines

Former PS-DBM executive director Christopher Lloyd Lao (Screenshot from Senate YouTube video)

Roque was asked about the former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) official’s whereabouts during a virtual press briefing on Thursday, Sept. 2.

“Hindi ko po alam kung nasaan siya pero kausap ko po siya sa telepono at mukha namang wala pong indikasyon na wala po siya sa bansa (I don’t know where he is but I spoke to him over the phone and there’s no indication that he is not in the country),” he answered.

Asked when the phone conversation took place, the lawyer-turned-Palace mouthpiece said: “Ngayong umaga po at pinadala po niya sakin yung quotes ng iba’t ibang supplier. Isa pa nga po doon ay dating kong kliyente (It happened this morning and he sent me quotes from different suppliers. One of them was a former client of mine).”

President Duterte appointed Lao as PS-DBM executive director in January 2020. The latter, who supported Duterte’s presidential campaign in 2016, would resign six months later amid the raging coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In its 2020 audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged as “irregular” the PS-DBM’s purchase of COVID-19 protective equipment.

As for the Senate’s intention of further investigating Lao, Roque said: “Of course the Senate can do whatever it wants.”