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MANILA, Philippines – Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) General Manager Al Vitangcol III submitted documents that he said should clear him of any accusations related to the $30 million bribery issue.
In a statement Thursday, July 25, Vitangcol said he wants to remove any doubt that may be cast on the fairness and impartiality of the upcoming investigation over the alleged attempt to extort money from Czech firm Inekon Group.
Vitangcol submitted the documents to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, saying these would show he’s innocent.
“While I have already been unjustly pilloried in the media by individuals who have come out with stories that are purely based on hearsay and devoid of any valid substantiation, I have voluntarily refrained from airing my side in public in due deference to the orderly investigation of the matter,” said Vitangcol in his statement.
“I trust that this declaration will terminate the unbridled speculation that has been brought about by the baseless allegations against me and, along with my official leave of absence, will allow the concerned agencies and/or tribunals to hold the appropriate investigation called forth by law,” he added.
This followed Abaya’s statement on Tuesday, July 23 ” target=”_blank”>confirming reports that Vitangcol has gone on leave to make way for the bribery probe.
The MRT-3 chief has gone on official leave of absence beginning July 24, 2013 until August 23, 2013.
“I would hope then that the media will help me clear my name with the same passion and zeal that some people have come out with baseless and malicious accusations against me,” said Vitangcol.
MRT-3 chief vs Czech firm
Abaya told Rappler in a previous interview that there is an ongoing investigation involving Vitangcol as well as other transportation officials following complaints about the bidding for the train cars supply contract.
“GM Vitangcol was named by the Ambassador,” Abaya said, referring to Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar, who had said that Czech train manufacturer Inekon was blacklisted after it refused to pay the grease money.
Abaya added that no timetable has been set for the probe.
The investigation involves the P3.769-billion project for the supply of 48 light rail vehicles (LRVs) aimed at decongesting the MRT-3.
The existing 73 LRVs are Czech-made. The bidding for the 48 is the first phase of plans to add 70 train coaches.
Bid for train cars continues
The government considered two options — second-hand cars from Spain or brand new from Czech Republic. The plan for the second-hand coaches was scrapped after the agency considered cost issues and timing of delivery.
On June 12, the Transportation department announced that China state-owned firm Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. CNR Group qualified after its bid was found eligible to go through detailed evaluation and post-qualification exercises.
Vitangcol was appointed to the post during the term of Abaya’s predecessor, Secretary Mar Roxas, who has moved to the Department of the Interior and Local Government. – Rappler.com