Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Wednesday, Aug. 17, confirmed that the Department of Education (DepEd) already requested for a “fraud audit” of the controversial P2.4-billion laptop purchase for teachers.
“Mayroon kaming sulat sa (We wrote a letter to the) Commission on Audit requesting for a fraud audit of the purchase of the laptops, so that dito rin sa loob ng (here inside the) Department of Education we can plan our ways forward based on the findings of their audit,” Duterte told reporters in an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Four ambassadors paid a courtesy call on Duterte at the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City.
In a separate interview, DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa explained that the latest development related to this is that the COA is already in the process of convening the task force and the audit team that will make the audit fraud.
Given this, Poa expressed confidence that the audit fraud will happen “very soon.”
In an earlier presser, Poa explained that DepEd plans to implement a “two-pronged” approach to help resolve the laptop deal issue.
Poa said that the main goal was to find out what the Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) regarding the laptops was all about because the AOM that was issued was received by DepEd in March 2022
“Even before the change in administration, there were responses from DepEd already,” he explained.
Poa explained that the AOM is an observation and the DepEd needs to “respond to the observations.”
After submitting its response, Poa said that the DepEd is now waiting for the COA’s response about alleged “overpriced “laptops.
The first approach, Poa said, will be on the part of DepEd which is to address the concerns of the teachers by evaluating the laptops. “If we have a quick fix with the department to help our teachers, let’s do it,” he explained.
The second approach, he noted, is legal. “If the laptops are slow and not up to par with what we wanted, we can check if they are covered by warranty,” Poa said.
He explained that what DepEd will do, aside from addressing the concerns of teachers, is to “invoke the warranty provision” under contract with the supplier of laptops in coordination with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) which was paid by DepEd to buy the units.
“We are not without remedies in terms of the shortfalls, if there are on the part of the supplier,” Poa said.
“Hopefully, the AOM can be resolved already and if there are still questions, we are looking at what these gaps are and we will address them as they come,” he added.