DOTr files plunder raps vs ex-gov't secretaries
The Department of Transportation ( DOTr) filed on Tuesday plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against several former Cabinet officials of the Aquino administration for the alleged anomalous maintenance service contract for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said named as respondents were former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, former Transportation Undersecretaries Erwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco, and Catherine Gonzales; former MRT-3 general manager Roman Buenafe, former DOTC Bids and Awards Committee members and executives of Busan Universal Railways Inc., the private contractor.
Also included in the charges were former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Marlo dela Cruz, executive of PH Trams, former MRT-3 service contractor prior to BURI.
The other former officials were named respondents because they were members of the government procurement policy board that approved the P3.8 billion contract with BURI, DOTr said.
"We must stress that the great suffering of the riding public as result of the failure to deliver on the responsibilities of public office, such as the case of the current state of the MRT-3 system, carries consequences and that those accountable will be held liable," Roque said.
He noted that it is "height of injustice" that Filipino taxpayers have to pay P54 million per month, on top of a P1.8 billion fixed fee for other services, "to an unworthy contractor incapable of delivering the reliable system."
While complaints are pending before the Ombudsman, he said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade assured his office would procure a reliable maintenance contractor; build new rails; and buy new train cars and new signaling system.
"They (DOTr) are in other words revamping almost completely the MRT," said Roque, who vowed to ride also MRT-3.
He added a safety audit of the MRT-3 is being conducted to ensure the safety of the riding public.
The DOTr has terminated its contract with BURI early this month.
Roque said the government expects that the Filipino-Korean firm would question before a court its decision to rescind the contract with them. Celerina Monte/DMS