Vitangcol faces criminal raps in MRT3 case
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2014 - 5:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) General Manager Al Vitangcol faces criminal and administrative charges over the anomalous P4.76 billion capacity expansion project involving an alleged extortion attempt.

In a statement Tuesday, the Office of the Ombudsman said that preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication will start against Vitangcol and PH TRAMS Corp. incorporator Wilson de Vera on the questionable deal.

Vitangcol allegedly tried to extort money from Czech firm Inekon Group in exchange of bagging the contract to supply trains to MRT3.

Vitangcol and De Vera are facing criminal charges for violating Section 3b of Replic Act 3019 penalizing personal benefits from government transactions and Republic Act 6713 penalizing acceptance and solicitation of gifts and money.

Vitangcol also faces administrative charges for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Ombudsman investigators said that Vitangcol held a dinner meeting on July 9, 2012 with Inekon's chief executive Joseph Husek, liaison officer Manalo Maralit, Czech Republic Ambassador Josef Rychtar and another man identified only as "Haluon."

The dinner was concluded in Rychtar's Forbes Park home with Vitangcol purportedly offering to choose Inekon as supplier of  the tram vehicles on the condition that the latter would pay $30 million.

Vitangcol allegedly reduced the amount further to $2.5 million in kickbacks from the project deal.

The Ombudsman also started an investigation on the alleged conflict of interest in granting a P517 million MRT3 interim maintenance contract to PH Trams Corp. for 2012 and 2013.

Also read: MRT-3 chief gave P517-M contract to uncle-in-law

Vitangcol's uncle-in-law, Arturo Soriano, and De Vera are incorporators of PH TRAMS.

Vitangcol was sacked by the Department of Transportation and Communications last month following reports of anomalous MRT3 deals under his watch.

ARTURO SORIANO CZECH REPUBLIC AMBASSADOR JOSEF RYCHTAR DE VERA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS FORBES PARK FORMER METRO RAIL TRANSIT GENERAL MANAGER AL VITANGCOL INEKON INEKON GROUP JOSEPH HUSEK VITANGCOL
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