Former Education Secretary Leonor Briones has spoken up on the alleged overpriced laptop procurement during her term and warned those who are “unjustly” implicating her with anomalies especially online.
Briones, in a statement sent to the Manila Bulletin on Monday, Aug. 8, said that she was “made aware” of the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding the procurement of allegedly overpriced laptops during her term as Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).
She was referring to the 2021 COA report flagging DepEd for the purchase of “pricey yet outdated” laptops for teachers worth P2.4 billion.
COA said that DepEd bought over 39,000 “pricey” laptops for P58,300 each. Due to the alleged purchase of overpriced units, the number of teachers who were supposed to be intended recipients also decreased.
While the purchase happened during her term, Briones reiterated that “neither I nor the Department of Education had any hand in the procurement process.”
Briones stressed that the “entirety of the procurement” was conducted by the Department of Budget and Management – Procurement Service (DBM-PS).
“It was the DBM-PS that directly had full control over the procurement, including pricing and item specifications,” Briones said.
Briones added that the only involvement she had was as a signatory in the Memorandum of Agreement between the DBM-PS and the DepEd where the DBM-PS was the “sole procuring entity in an end-to-end capacity.”
“DepEd was only the end-user,” Briones said, noting that the agency — under her term — “had no hand in the canvassing, bidding, and actual procurement whatsoever.”
Following the controversy that hounds the said procurement, Briones’ name has been dragged in some posts online.
“To those posting online unjustly implicating me in any way with anomalies, I say this: Hindi ako nagtatago at hindi ako kailangan hanapin. Kung may sasabihin kayo na ako ay korap, maling- mali kayo diyan (I’m not hiding and I don’t need to be found. If you say that I am corrupt, you are wrong),” she added.
Briones is also “coordinating with my lawyers should I decide to take legal action.”
Meanwhile, Briones expressed confidence that as former DepEd Secretary, “I will be vindicated of any wrongdoing.”
She also expressed confidence DepEd will be “under excellent leadership” by Vice President Sara Duterte who serves as the Education Secretary in a concurrent capacity under the Marcos administration.