Graft complaint filed vs Abaya for unused trains
MANILA, Philippines – A graft complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday, May 5, against former transportation secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya over the defective coaches bought from a supplier in China.
The Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines (ATM), Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago (LEP) and United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) filed the complaint on Friday. They are represented by lawyer Al Vitangcol III, former general manager of Metro Rail Transit 3 or MRT3 who was dismissed over an anomalous train maintenance contract.
The complainants sued Abaya and former officials of what was then called the Department of Transporation and Communication (DOTC) – now the Department of Transportation (DOTr) – for entering into a contract with Chinese supplier Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. Ltd.
Under Abaya's helm during Aquino's presidency, the Philippines bought from Dalian 48 light rail vehicles (LRVs) for P3.8 billion.
However, officials now of the DOTr said that while all 48 coaches have been delivered, they cannot be used for the next 3 years because of problems in the signaling system.
According to the complainants, not only was the contract disadvantageous and causing inconvenience to the riding public, it has also cost the government hundreds of millions of pesos in revenues.
"Based on previous data and estimates, the government is bound to lose 178,200 passengers per day for the non-fielding of the new trains. This translates to P9,409,500 per day in terms of lost fares. Using a very simple calculation, for a delay of three months, the lost revenues is now about P847 million," the complaint reads.
Others sued for graft are: former DOTC Bids chairman Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, former DOCT Bids members Rene Limcaoco and Julianito Bucayan, former Bids Secretariat Catherine Jennifer Gonzales, former project head Roman Buenafe, and former MRT3 Operations Director Deo Leo Manalo.
Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee on public services, has filed a resolution that seeks to investigate the Dalian contract.
Poe said in media interviews that she intends to invite Abaya and Buenafe to the inquiry.
The complainants' lawyer Vitangcol is facing his own charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan for entering into a train maintenance contract with Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation (PH Trams). The contract did not undergo public bidding and one of PH Trams' executives is Vitangcol's uncle-in-law, the Ombudsman said. – Rappler.com
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