Jinggoy seeks special COA audit on DepEd’s ‘favored’ ICT supplies

(GMA NEWS) Senator Jinggoy Estrada has formally asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the alleged “favored” suppliers of the Department of Education (DepEd).

In a letter dated October 3, 2022, addressed to COA Chairperson Jose Calida through DepEd Supervising Auditor Job Aguirre Jr., Estrada asked the state auditors to look into DepEd’s transactions with at least five companies who allegedly cornered billions of pesos for the agency’s information and technology contracts since 2013.

“This is to request your good office for an audit inspection on the reported ‘Favored Suppliers’ in the Department of Education, including, but not limited to, the following companies:  Advance Solutions Inc. (ASI), Columbia Technologies Inc.,  Reddot Imaging Philippines Inc., Techguru Inc., and Girl Tekki Inc.,” Estrada wrote.

In a text message to GMA News Online, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency will not issue a comment on the matter for now.

GMA News Online has reached out to the companies mentioned by Estrada through email and private message, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.

Last week, Estrada questioned the awarding of around P6 billion in deals to ASI, one of the companies he mentioned in his letter to COA.

He earlier identified several other suppliers whom he said got most of the DepEd contracts.

When Estrada asked at a Senate hearing about the alleged favoritism, Fritze Ventinilla of ASI said they had no contact with DepEd aside from those assigned during contract implementation.

Ventinilla said ASI’s contracts were awarded from 2013 up to 2021.

Estrada earlier mentioned that the awarding of contracts to a few suppliers should have raised “red flags” within DepEd, and that this should have been investigated by the COA. —KBK, GMA News