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Palace on Vitangcol tell-all: Up to him

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said yesterday it would be up to former Metro Rail Transit 3 general manager Al Vitangcol III to decide if he would heed calls to reveal what he knows about a multimillion-dollar MRT maintenance deal that has earned him a graft indictment.

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

“It will be up to Mr. Vitangcol to decide what will be his next move regarding the call of Senator (Francis) Escudero,” Coloma told radio station dzRB, referring to the lawmaker’s call for Vitangcol to shed light on the maintenance deal that earned the former MRT official a graft case.

The Ombudsman has filed graft charges against Vitangcol and 20 other 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 20 Department of Transportation and Communications officials, including Secretary Joseph Abaya, were dropped, prompting Vitangcol to claim that he was 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 also be held accountable.

“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 to 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 senator.

 

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