Dead resource person, wrong expert invited to ‘overpriced’ laptops hearing

Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB
Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB

A dead resource person and a wrong expert were invited to the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the Department of Education's alleged overpriced laptops on Thursday. 

During the resumption of its investigation, Senator Francis Tolentino, chair of the Blue Ribbon, revealed to the panel that he received information that a certain "Atty. Crisologo,"  who was mentioned in the previous hearing, was already dead.

"I was informed last night that Atty. Crisologo can't be present here today because Atty. Crisologo is already dead. So we're trying to secure a certified copy of his death certificate and the actual cause of his death," Tolentino said.

Crisologo's name floated during the previous hearing of the panel after Ulysses Mora, who chaired the Bids and Awards Committee at the time of the procurement, allowed the issuance of an invitation to bid on 10 May 2021 despite admitting that there was still no signed memorandum of agreement. 

"As of late 5 May 2021, PS-DBM personnel are still unaware of the existence of a signed memorandum of agreement between PS-DBM and DepEd which was notarized on 16 February 2021," he said.

"That's the reason why we requested the presence of the person, a certain Atty. Crisologo from Quezon City who notarized the memorandum of agreement," he explained. 

Later in the afternoon, Senator Jinggoy Estrada confirmed that Crisologo is already dead though his elder brother, former Quezon City 1st District Representative Vincent "Bingbong" Crisologo.

Estrada said the former lawmaker confirmed that his younger brother died due to kidney complications last year. 

'Wrong expert'

Meanwhile, a wrong expert was also invited to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation on the alleged overpriced laptops procured by the PS-DBM for the education department.

Tolentino asked National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cyber Investigation and Assessment Center Director Palmer Mallari for his opinion on whether laptops in the concept paper have a huge difference from the actual laptops procured by the agency.

However, Mallari raised there might be confusion, citing that he is not an expert on the matter.

"Our expertise is, actually [there seems to be] a confusion. We thought you invited [us] in our capacities as cybercrime investigators," he said.

"Cybercrime investigations are different from computer hardware," he added.

Mallari stressed that he is "not an expert on the quality, inferiorities, and superiorities of computers and hardware."

Upon learning that they invited the wrong expert, Tolentino apologized to the invited official and dismissed him from the hearing.

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