Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Tuesday, Nov 16 questioned the capability of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to purchase equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.
Drilon pointed out that the mandate of PS-DBM is to procure common-use supplies.
“So how can funds for the AFP modernization be transferred to PS-DBM? I can’t imagine how our AFP modernization program funds, to the tune of P39.7 billion, were transferred to PS-DBM for the purchase of common-use equipment… these were transferred which really went beyond the mandate of PS-DBM,” Drilon said.
Office supplies such as paper and paper clips, among others, are considered ‘’common-use.’’
Drilon, a former Senate President and former Justice secretary, also noted that as of December 31, 2020, the Department of National Defense (DND) has unliquidated balance of P5.2 billion parked in PS-DBM and another P4.6 transferred to the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) or a total of P10 billion.
Failing to get a clear answer, Drilon asked the DND to just submit a written report to clarify the points he raised in today’s hybrid plenary session.
Earlier, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said a Commission on Audit (COA) report stated that the Philippine Army (PA) had transmitted P15.97 billion of its funds to the PITC from 2007 to 2020 but P8.5 billion remains unliquidated.
The PA had transmitted its funds to PITC to buy military-related equipment.
Lacson recalled Drilon’s comment on the PITC’s performance as leaving ‘’too much to be desired.’’
As a result of the alleged scam at PS-DBM on the disbursement of P42 billion of Department of Health COVID-129 response funds, Senators Drilon and Imee Marcos wanted that various government agencies should no longer funnel their procurement funds to PS-DBM and PITC.
Senators now favor various government agencies buying their own supplies or equipment through their own bidding and awards committees.