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Opinion

Same gov’t official behind purchase anomalies?

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

How much did the people in the previous administration earn from the P2.4 billion worth of expensive but outmoded laptops?

The Commission on Audit recently flagged the Department of Education for the “pricey, outdated” laptops for teachers.

But knowing former education secretary Leonor Briones, she would not have been involved in such a mess.

Briones, an academician before she was drafted into the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, most likely didn’t know about the “monkey business” in her turf. Because of her advanced age when she was appointed DepEd head, subordinates fooled the 81-year-old Briones.

However, DepEd officials pass the buck to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“The question on the price of the laptops can best be answered by the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) as the procuring entity for the units,” DepEd said.

Whoa, whoa! Isn’t this the same DBM-PS which was also involved in the purchase of COVID-19 medical supplies and equipment?

The scandalously overpriced items – valued at P8.7 billion – were supplied by private pharmaceutical firm Pharmally. The scandal was the subject of a protracted Senate investigation.

Methinks, the P2.4-billion computers were also scandalously overpriced.

Chinese national Michael Yang, allegedly a Duterte crony, was implicated in the Pharmally mess.

But who were the people behind Michael Yang? Allegedly, one of them was – still is – a government bigwig.

A member of a powerful lobby group from Mindanao, this government official reportedly facilitated the purchase of the COVID-19 supplies and medical equipment.

It seems the official was also involved in the pricey and outdated laptops bought by DepEd.

This official reportedly dipped his fingers into all cookie jars in the past administration, according to unimpeachable sources.

In no time, this official will soon be exposed, especially now after the changing of the guard.

*      *      *

The government interloper is allegedly a lothario. He reportedly has numerous women in many departments in the government, and even in the private sector.

His enticement to every woman is a unit in a posh or middle-class condominium. A hefty allowance every month is also included.

It’s none of my business – and I’m not a saint, either – but the guy is burning his candle at both ends since he looks fragile in health. Does he have the stamina?

*      *      *

It’s so ironic that DepEd, which could afford to buy those apparently scandalously overpriced laptops for teachers, is asking the private sector to donate school supplies for the school opening.

DepEd spokesman Michael Poa says the private sector can donate “learners’ kits,” which include notebooks and pens, to schools through the Brigada Eskwela.

Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte will be surprised to know that the aforementioned official was also involved in the computer mess, according to my sources at DepEd.

*      *      *

Wealth acquired through fraud or other criminal means, as well as winning in the lottery, disappears in no time.

Retired government officials or employees with ill-gotten wealth are surprised to see their money evaporate after a while. Those who go into business ventures with their ill-gotten wealth soon find their money gone.

That’s the reason bank robbers keep on doing the same crime even after scooping a windfall in one bank heist. The money vanishes like a bubble, so they plan and execute another robbery.

With very few exceptions, winnings from lotteries or lottos also fly out the window after a while.

A study showed that lotto winners become poor, even poorer than before they won, within two years after the windfall.

A contractor in the US who was already rich before he won the lottery regretted having the windfall. He declared bankruptcy several years after the winnings. Relations within his family went awry, one of his daughters became a drug addict.

Here at home, I know of a man who lost all his P33-million lotto winnings in 1991 within two years. Let’s call him Leo.

The 1991 P33-million windfall would be equivalent to P140 million now.

Leo frequented the casinos, where he lost heavily. He became a habitué in bars and nightclubs and would tip waiters P1,000, a big amount at the time. He gave away money to hangers-on and sycophants.

Leo still goes to the casinos but bets in small amounts. He still buys lottery tickets, hoping to win again.

A Lotto winner in Antipolo was killed by his own relative, whom he forgot to give a balato (money given away in goodwill by a winning gambler) to.

It is said that good fortune precedes bad luck; inversely, bad luck precedes good fortune. It’s called the wheel of life.

What do you do if a windfall suddenly lands on your lap?

Financial advisers say one should keep sudden wealth a secret even to close relatives. Don’t quit your job. Keep a low profile. Move to another modest neighborhood.

Consult your financial advisers on where to invest your money.

After learning financial literacy from rich friends and financial planners, that’s the only time you splurge, and not before.

*      *      *

Joke! Joke! Joke!

What’s in a name?

This name is found in a professional driver’s license (no kidding): Diakol, Abdul Tubul Salsalani. The guy placed his address in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija.

I have a copy of the license.

I admire Mr. Diakol for not changing his name.

A little boy approached a priest after the mass and told the padre he was donating all his allowance that he had saved for a week.

When the priest asked him why, almost in tears the boy said: “My father said to me during mass that you were a poor preacher, the poorest we ever had.”

DEPED

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