Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has once again claimed that the Duterte administration's procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) last year was above-board.
Although he used the same talking points, Roque chose to go a more "visual" route during Monday, Sept. 6's virtual press briefing by using a couple of mannequins adorned in the subject PPEs.
"Hindi ko alam kung ano talaga ang nangyari dyan sa Pharmally na yan. Ang alam ko lang po ay facts (I don't know exactly what happened with Pharmally. What I do know are facts)," he said.
Aiding the Palace official in his visual presentation was Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Charade Grande, who attended the proceedings via Zoom. Grande read a written breakdown of the government purchased PPE sets, while Roque pointed to the corresponding article.
At one point, Roque had the female mannequin stripped of its top layer of PPE as if to show Filipinos how much bang for their buck they were getting, since the money used to buy the equipment were public funds.
"Heto po ang binili (This is what we bought), nine-piece PPE set sa halagang (for the price of) P1,716," he said.
Reiterating his defense against those saying the Duterte administration's purchase was overpriced, Roque again drew a comparison from the pricier PPE sets that the previous Aquino govenrment bought at a time when there was neither a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic nor a demand for such medical supplies.
"Hindi po nila dine-deny, P3,800 ang binili nila (Aquino administration). Pareho po ng PPEs na binili natin ay WHO -compliant (They're not denying that they purchased theirs at P3,800 per set. The PPEs that we bought and they bought were both WHO-compliant)," Roque explained.
"Hindi ko po sinasabi na P3,800 ay hindi overpriced or overpriced. Ang sigurado ako, kung nakakabili po ng P3,800, ang P1,716 ay hindi po overpriced (I'm neither saying that P3,800 is not overpriced nor it's overpriced. What I'm sure of is, if they were able to buy it at P3,800, then P1,716 is not overpriced)," he added.
Roque further told the public: "Politika na po ngayon. Kinakailangang mas maging maingat at matalino sa pag-aanalyze po ng naririnig (It's already the political season. We need to be more careful and smart in analyzing what we hear)."
Local firm Pharmally Pharmaceutical bagged P10 billion worth of government contracts for medical supplies last year when COVID-19 was first detected in the country.
Making such contract awardings odd are reports that Pharmally has low capitalization and was just established as a company in September 2019.