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Palace: Up to Vitangcol to spill beans on shady trains deal

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 10, 2016 - 4:05am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said on Saturday that it would be up to former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III to decide if he would heed calls for him to reveal what he knows about the controversial commuter trains deal worth $1.5 million.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government has already stated its position on the MRT issue.

“It will be up to Mr. Vitangcol to decide what will be his next move regarding the call of Sen. (Francis) Escudero,” Coloma told radio station dzRB.

Earlier, Escudero called upon Vitangcol to shed light on the $1.5-million commuter trains maintenance deal, the project that earned him a graft case.

The Ombudsman has filed graft charges against Vitangcol and 20 transportation officials in relation to accusations that the 10-month MRT-3 maintenance deal was anomalous. The contract was allegedly awarded to a company whose directors included Vitangcol’s uncle-in-law.

The charges against the 20 DOTC officials, including Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, were dropped, prompting Vitangcol to claim that he is a “sacrificial lamb” abandoned by his former backers.

Escudero, who is seeking the vice presidency under the coalition of presidential bet Sen. Grace Poe, said Vitangcol should not be afraid to speak up and should not sacrifice himself when he knows that others should be held accountable for the anomaly.  

"There could be no one else who could wield such power and influence above Vitangcol with possible links to the maintenance contract than (Former transportation secretary and Liberal Party presidential bet Manuel) Roxas and Abaya," Escudero said.

"Whoever his benefactors were, they're now long gone. And the longer that Mr. Vitangcol decides that he should pin them down, the longer the time and chance he gives them cover their tracks. Mr. Vitangcol should blow the whistle on them now," the senator added.

Roxas, who served as transportation chief before being named interior secretary, had recruited Vitangcol to the MRT. Vitangcol served as Roxas’ aide when the latter was still a senator. 

ACIRC GENERAL MANAGER AL VITANGCOL GRACE POE LIBERAL PARTY METRO RAIL TRANSIT MR. VITANGCOL PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. ROXAS ROXAS AND ABAYA TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY JOSEPH ABAYA VITANGCOL
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