Senate panel plans to release report on DepEd laptop probe before Christmas break—Tolentino

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is expected to release its report into the Department of Education’s (DepEd) P2.4-billion laptop procurement deal before the Christmas break, Senator Francis Tolentino said.

“Siguro po, before the Christmas break, we’ll have the committee report, and as we have done before, we will release the dispositive portion in advance,” Tolentino told reporters in an interview on Thursday, December 1.

Tolentino admitted he is hesitant to release the report before the Christmas season but since the issue was investigated and surfaced in 2022, they will not delay the release of the panel’s recommendation.

“Nag aalangan nga ako kung ilalabas ngayong kapaskuhan o hindi e pero kung ilalabas mo naman sa January baka sabihin naman bagong taon na bagong taon nilabas (I’m hesitating whether to release it this holiday season or not, but if you release it in January, it might be said that it was released in the new year),” he said.

“So dahil issue ito ng 2022, ilabas na natin ngayong 2022 at kagaya nung pangako namin noon, mabiilis (So since this is a 2022 issue, let's release it now in 2022 and as we promised before, it will be fast),” the senator added.

According to Tolentino, the committee has already finished 95 percent of the report.

When asked if the report will recommend further investigation or charges to the Office of the Ombudsman, the lawmaker replied: “Marami (a lot).”

The Senate is set to adjourn on December 17 and will resume sessions on January 22, 2023.

It was in August when the Blue Ribbon panel first held its initial probe into the DepEd’s alleged purchase of “outdated yet overpriced” laptops through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Services (DBM-PS).

The probe stemmed from the Commission on Audit’s (COA) 2021 annual audit report where it flagged the DepEd over its procurement of more expensive laptops for teachers.