NBI to probe detached MRT train as sabotage angle floated

Lian Buan

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NBI to probe detached MRT train as sabotage angle floated
The Department of Transportation floats the idea that the incident may be a case of 'sabotage'

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has tasked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the November 16 train detachment incident at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Aguirre issued Department Order No. 743 on Monday, November 20, authorizing the NBI to probe the incident, which happened between the Ayala and Buendia stations.

Around 130-140 passengers were evacuated from the railways on November 16 when a car was detached or “decoupled” from the body.

The incident added up to the list of glitches and other incidents that hound the Metro Rail Transit 3 or MRT 3.

The Department of Transportation earlier cited the initial finding of its engineer that there was no electrical of mechanical problem, and that “human intervention” was a possible cause of the incident. The DOTr had earlier floated the idea of “sabotage” at play.

“We ask: What is the motive? Who has the capability of removing the black box? Was this an attempt to cover up a mistake on the operation of Train No. 5? Or was there an effort to sabotage the entire operation?” the DOTr said in a statement on November 17 or a day after the incident.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said that the card on the detached train – have records of anything that might have been done or programmed on the train – was missing. 

Chavez said the card might have been hidden to cover the tracks of the person responsible for the incident. (READ: MRT woes: How often do they happen?)

Though they were not named, Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), the former maintenance provider of the MRT 3, immediately issued a statement saying they do not have a role in the recent glitches.

BURI’s contract has been terminated, and their officials face a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly violating procurement laws when they implemented the maintenance contract of the MRT.

DOTr supplemented their complaint on Tuesday with a plunder complaint against former transport secretary Joseph Abaya and other executives of the Aquino government. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.