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DOTr execs sued over P176-M delayed MRT maintenance fees

MANILA, Philippines — The maintenance provider of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 yesterday filed a graft and ethics violation complaint against Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for railways Cesar Chavez and two other officials of the agency.

Represented by its lawyer Charles Perfecto Mercado, Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Chavez, DOTr senior technical assistant Hernando Cabrera and DOTr consultant Jorgette Bellen for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act’s Sections 3 (e), which prohibit a public official from giving unwarranted benefit, advantage of preference to any party, or from causing any party undue injury, and 3 (f), which prohibit him from neglecting or refusing to act on a relevant matter or request before his office, without valid justification and amid due demand from the concerned party.

BURI also urged the ombudsman to investigate the three DOTr officials for violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The company said the three officials conspired in withholding the payments for 10 billing statements totaling P176,139,139.13 representing the maintenance services it rendered from September 2016 to July 2017.

“This would include monthly billings that are totally unpaid and also the amounts that were partially withheld from previous billings,” Redentor Roque, another BURI lawyer, explained to reporters after filing the complaint.

Under the maintenance contract, BURI is entitled to a P54.5-million monthly payment.

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Chavez said he does not understand why the firm filed graft charges against him.

“My decision to withhold payment is precisely to protect public funds… How can I charged of graft when I am only protecting public funds?” he said in a statement.

Asked about his plan against BURI, Chavez did not respond to The STAR.  

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