Briones in a wheelchair as she attends first Senate inquiry into ‘expensive’ laptops

Leonor Briones_wheelchair
Screen grab from a clip showing former Education Secretary Leonor Briones in a wheelchair during a Senate hearing on August 25, 2022. (Screen grab from ONE News PH Twitter account)

Photos of former education secretary Leonor Briones in a wheelchair during the Senate hearing on allegedly overpriced laptops purchased by the department during his tenure has gone viral.

The 81-year-old former Cabinet official attended the Senate Blue Ribbon Committeeit is request in the laptop purchase of 2.4 billion pesos from the DepEd reported by the Audit committee.

According to Briones, she’s “not hiding under anyone’s bed” in response to online accusations about her whereabouts amid the overpriced laptop issue.

“I am as visible as you can be. I am very involved in international debates, as well as concerns about developments in the Philippines,” she said. cited as told.

Briones is now the director of Innotech, a regional facility hosted by the Philippines with 11 Southeast Asian member countries.

Earlier this month, state auditors flagged the DepEd, saying the agency, through the Procurement Service — Department of Budget and Managementpurchased 39,583 Intel Celeron laptop computers for use by public school teachers for distance learning, which was “dearfor his gender.

Each unit was listed at P58,000 in the approved budget contract, but the initial price agreed by the DepEd before the PS-DBM carried out its preliminary market study was only P35,000.

Several Filipinos have questioned the price of laptops, with a tech-based website sharing better laptops that the public can buy for almost the same amount as P58,000.

READ ALSO : Teachers lament buying their own laptops after COA reports gaps in distance education budget

Former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao attributed the rise in laptop prices to a number of “externalities” and add-ons, including the coronavirus pandemic, warranties, maintenance and software.

PS-DBM Executive Director Denis Santiago affirmed this and stated that “it is possible that it may increase or decrease depending on demand, availability and available market vendors”.

“There are so many externalities on the effect on the market price,” he added.

In the middle of the hearing, Briones in a wheelchair must be brought to the Senate clinic for a medical visit.

Some photos of the moment have gone viral on social media, with a post on Facebook generating more than 26,000 shares to date.

Others recalled some personalities who also appeared in public in wheelchairs.

Briones, however, previously used a moving chair, notably during his stint as education secretary.

“In fairness to Briones, she’s fragile [and] Old. A friend said frequent passenger niya if madam pre-pandemic its PAL [and] she always asked for a wheelchair,” a twitter user claimed, referring to Philippine Airlines.

“She went here in 2021 to namin naka-wheelchair province. She can stand and walk naman pero limited time na”, another online user claims.

In 2017, Briones admitted that she uses a wheelchair every time she travels by plane.

“It’s true that I use a wheelchair every time I travel by plane; there is no correlation between the state of my knees and the state of my brain, as well as the ability to analyze challenges, whether related to education, finance, politics and the economy,” she said. said before.

Before Briones was confirmed as President Rodrigo Duterte’s education chief, the Nominating Commission asked questions about his physical condition.

Norman D. Briggs