Roque clarifies: 'I never said PNoy admin purchased overpriced PPEs'

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque clarified that he never accused the previous Aquino administration of buying overpriced personal protective equipment (PPEs), saying he was merely pointing out that the PPEs purchased by the current government were not overpriced.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque made the statement after former Health Secretary and now Iloilo First District Representative Janetter Garin asked the embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to probe the said purchase pointed out by Roque on September 1 as she cannot recall making such a purchase.

In his press briefing on Thursday, September 2, Roque said he never said the Department of Health (DOH) under Garin bought overpriced PPEs.

"Hindi po natin sinasabi na overpriced ang P3,500 (I never said that P3,500 was overpriced)," he said.

"Ang sinasabi lang natin... eh kung P3,500 noong mga panahon ay sinasabi nilang hindi overpriced, bakit magiging overpriced ang presyong P1,950 (All I'm saying is, if P3,500 at that time, according to them, is not overpriced, then how come the amount of P1,950 is overpriced)?" he added.

"Definitely, what I'm saying is P1,950 is not overpriced given that noong hindi pa masyadong matagal na panahon, ay bumili po sila ng P3,500 at P3,800 (not that long ago, they bought PPEs worth P3,500 and P3,800)," he continued.

Meanwhile, Roque asked the public to not easily conclude that there was corruption involved in the government's procurement of coronavirus (COVID-19) supplies.

"Panahon na talaga ng election at talagang gumagawa sila ng political issue (It really is election season and they are making a political issue)," he said.

The Senate has been conducting a hearing on the alleged overpriced PPEs purchased by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) last year.

In an attempt to justify the purchase, Roque presented purchase orders for PPEs by the DOH under the administration of the late President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III worth at least P3,500 each.

A purchase order dated September 28, 2015, showed the purchase of 2,500 PPEs worth P3,500 each, and another purchase order for 3,750 PPEs worth P3,864 each dated June 23, 2016, seven days before the term of the Aquino administration ended.