Abaya to resign? ‘One text, I could go’

Bea Cupin

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Abaya to resign? ‘One text, I could go’
Commuters have asked him to resign over the recent MRT3 accident, but transportation chief Joseph Abaya still has the trust of the President, his party mate

MANILA, Philippines – Will he heed calls to resign?

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya won’t cling on to power.

In fact, he told reporters on Tuesday, August 19, all it takes is “one text” and he’d leave his post in government. 

“I have kids to raise. It is a privilege for me to work in government…. But, again, text lang sa akin (one text), I could go,” he said, referring to any possible call from President Benigno Aquino III, his party mate.

Prior to being appointed to the DOTC, Abaya was the representative of the first district of Cavite. When he was appointed in 2012, Abaya was the secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Party.

Abaya and the DOTC have been under fire after a series of mishaps in the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3).

On Tuesday, Abaya led the presentation of an internal investigation on an August 13 incident wherein an MRT3 train derailed after bulldozing through the safety barriers of the Taft station. At least 36 were reported injured in the incident.

Commuter group Train Riders Network (TREN) has called on Abaya to resign over the August 13 incident, saying the concurrent LP president was focused on the 2016 polls instead of his job.

Reporters on Tuesday chided Abaya, asking him whose text message would prompt his resignation. “A text message from commuters?” asked one reporter.

Aquino’s trust

The Palace on Sunday, August 17, defended Abaya and said he still had President Aquino’s trust.

Ang pangunahing inaasikaso po ng ating pamahalaan ay ‘yung pagtiyak sa kaligtasan ng libo-libong mga mamamayan na gumagamit sa MRT (Metro Rail Transit) bilang backdoor ng ating mass transit system dito sa kalakhang Maynila…. Sasabihin ko lang po na patuloy ang kumpyansa at pagtitiwala ni Pangulong Aquino sa kakayahan ni Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya ng DOTC,” said Presidential Spokesman Secretary Sonny Coloma in the press briefing.

(The government’s primary concern is to ensure the safety of commuters using the MRT3 because it is the backdoor of Metro Manila’s mass transit system. Let me reiterate that the president has complete confidence and trust in the abilities of Secretary Abaya.)

Abaya, meanwhile, had nothing but kind things to say of his boss.

“I encourage kids to work in government because it’s a good time to serve in government under President Aquino. I wouldn’t have lasted long under another presidency,” he said. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.