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Poe panel recommends graft raps vs Abaya over MRT

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – For entering into contracts that may endanger the safety of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 commuters, a Senate subcommittee recommended yesterday the filing of graft charges against top officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

The Senate’s subcommittee on public services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe recommended the filing of charges against Abaya and other officials “directly involved” in forging contracts in the DOTC.

Poe’s panel cited the “badges of negligence and inactions of the DOTC led by Secretary Abaya indicating insensitiveness, callous indifference and acts disadvantageous to the commuters, the Filipino public and the government.”

As such, the subcommittee sought the filing of charges for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Poe submitted her report to Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate public services committee, as Congress adjourned yesterday for the campaign period.

Poe led the subcommittee which inquired into the anomalous contracts entered into by the DOTC. Copies of the report were given to the vice chairman and members of the committee and the Senate as a whole, the senator’s staff said.

Poe also pushed for the submission of the report to the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Justice and the Civil Service Commission for appropriate action. The report must be considered as “initial leads as there are strong indications” of violation of the anti-graft law.

It also asserted that maintenance providers tapped by the DOTC – PH Trams and APT-Global – are “not reputable entities.”

The 45-page report took notice of the DOTC’s repeated awarding of maintenance contracts to inefficient maintenance providers and the shift of responsibility to procure maintenance provider from MRTC to DOTC.

“It bears stressing that the DOTC and MRTC offered their respective justifications as to why the responsibility of procuring a maintenance provider for MRT-3 shifted from MRTC to the DOTC,” it read.

“For the DOTC’s part, Secretary Abaya explained that there was a time when the MRTC refused to procure a maintenance provider and the DOTC simply stepped in and did the procurement so as to avoid a situation that the trains have to stop running due to lack of maintenance provider,” it added.

The panel also quoted Abaya in his testimony before the Senate that “the DOTC felt that service should continue for the people, thus, the need to immediately procure.”

The panel also questioned the DOTC’s decision to award to Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. of China the contract for the purchase of new light railway vehicles (LRV), which the Senate deemed as “clearly too late and delayed.”

It added that the contract with Dalian for the new coaches was a violation of a previous BLT agreement. “It is as if the DOTC has been waiting all along for a ‘friendly’ bidder to ‘cooperate’ with DOTC, especially due to reports of prior bribery attempt in relation to Inekon,” it added.

ABAYA ACIRC ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT DALIAN LOCOMOTIVE AND ROLLING STOCK CO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS DOTC GRACE POE MAINTENANCE METRO RAIL TRANSIT SECRETARY ABAYA
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