Drilon to DOTr: Find solutions, not scapegoats for MRT mess

Camille Elemia
Drilon to DOTr: Find solutions, not scapegoats for MRT mess
'I have confidence in the integrity of these people,' says Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon after the Department of Transportation files plunder charges against members of the Aquino Cabinet

MANILA, Philippines – “Stop looking for scapegoats.”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called out the Department of Transportation (DOTr), following the filing of charges against members of former president Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet over alleged anomalous contracts for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3).

Drilon said it is high time for the DOTr to begin searching for solutions, saying the MRT3 remains in a problematic state. (READ: Tugade refuses to resign over MRT3 woes)

“After almost one year and a half, I suggest to the Department of Transportation that they stop looking for scapegoats and start looking for solutions. Up to this point, the MRT is still in such a state that it does not serve the purpose for which it was formed,” the senator told reporters on Tuesday, November 21.

Drilon, who is party mates with most respondents, said he is confident that they could respond to the charges.

He also questioned why plunder was the allegation that the DOTr made in its complaint.

“Just one basic issue – [plunder] requires [that] one of the elements of the crime is that you personally profited to the extent of P50 million. I don’t even think that there is an allegation that these respondents profited personally,” Drilon said.

“I am confident. I have confidence in the integrity of these people,” he added.

The DOTr on Tuesday filed a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against 9 former Aquino Cabinet members and several other officials.

The complaint was filed against:

  1. former transportation secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya
  2. former interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II
  3. former budget secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad
  4. former finance secretary Cesar Purisima
  5. former energy secretary Jericho Petilla
  6. former science and technology secretary Mario Montejo
  7. former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin
  8. former public works and highways secretary Rogelio Singson
  9. former socioeconomic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan
  10. former transportation officials Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco, Catherine Jennifer Francis Gonzales, Roman Buena, Camille Alcaraz, Ofelia Asteria, Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia, Oscar Bongon, Jose Rodante Cabale, Maria Cecilia Natividad
  11. Busan Universal Rail Incorporated (BURI) officials Eldonn Ferdinand Uy, Elizabeth Velasco, Belinda Ong Tan, Brian Velasco, Chae-Gue Shim, Antonio Borromeo, Jun Ho Hwang, Elpidio Silvestre Uy, William dela Cruz, Eugene Rapanut
  12. private respondent Mario dela Cruz

The other Cabinet secretaries made up the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) which the DOTr claims unduly favored maintenance provider BURI.

Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, earlier alleged that Dela Cruz was part of the group that supposedly controlled contracts under Roxas.

The plunder complaint is a supplementary complaint to the graft complaint filed in October against Abaya and other transportation officials over the creation of special purpose company BURI to implement the maintenance contract of the MRT3.

BURI’s contract has since been terminated– Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.