DOTr backs sacking of railways exec Tolentino

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOTr backs sacking of railways exec Tolentino
The sacking of Tolentino must serve as a warning to all government officials and employees, DOTr stressed.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation on Monday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's firing of a railways official for allegedly having deals with his sister, whom the Malacañang did not name.

“The DOTr welcomes and strongly supports the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate the services of [lawyer] Mark Tolentino as assistant secretary for railways due to questionable dealings and unfairly involving the first family with matters regarding the Mindanao Railway Project,” the department said in a statement.

The sacking of Tolentino, announced Monday afternoon by the Palace, must serve as a warning to all government officials and employees, DOTr stressed.

“Namedropping and seeking the assistance of the president, his family or any other influential individual, either for government projects or for personal gain, will never be tolerated,” the agency said.

In a press briefing Friday, Tolentino claimed that higher officials of the DOTr derailed the Mindanao Railway project to borrow funds from a foreign company despite having a P36-billion budget and alleged that he was being stopped from speaking.

He said that he obtained the “blessing” of members of Duterte’s family to proceed with the briefing.

Presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said Tolentino was lying when he said he had the blessing of the first family.

The president on Saturday also warned against dropping his or his family members’ names in government transactions.

“Now, if you try to say that I asked the help of the first family because you cannot decide on a certain thing, which you would need, why do you have to consult my sister?” he said.

READDOTr exec Tolentino sacked for alleged dealings with Duterte sister

Mindanao Railway ‘on track’

DOTr assured the public that the Mindanao Railway Project is “on track and on schedule.”

“Phase 1 (Tagum-Davao-Digos) will be completed in 2021 without delays and corruption,” the department said.

In an earlier statement, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said Tolentino was aked to postpone his press briefing to keep from pre-empting the high-level discussions on the best strategy to implement the railway project.

The first phase of the said project is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur to 1.3 hours from 3.5 hours once it starts its operations in 2022.

READDOTr execs: Mindanao Railway project ‘not derailed’





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