Is it ‘steal as one’ in the procurement of anti-COVID medical supplies? — Pangilinan

The alleged overpricing of medical supplies for the government’s campaign to control the spread of COVID-19 should be investigated, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.

On Sunday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said billions of pesos in taxpayer money may have lined the pockets of corrupt public officials behind the procurement of allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers caring for COVID-19 patients and swabbing supplies used in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for suspected new coronavirus carriers.

“Gusto rin nating malaman ang katotohanan tungkol dito. ‘Steal as one’ ba ang nangyayari sa pagbili ng mga anti-COVID medical supplies?” Pangilinan asked.

“It’s unconscionable how some individuals could even think of exploiting the purchase of medical supplies for their selfish ends, if reports are true,” Pangilinan said.

“By jacking up prices of supplies such as swab kits and personal protective equipment, we get less units than what is needed, depriving the people and medical front-liners of the defenses they need to fight COVID-19,” he added.

Earlier, Sen. Grace Poe disclosed that 1 million sets of PPEs that the Department of Health bought were also “overpriced” by as much as P1.4 billion; Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire denied this allegation.