LRTA execs face graft raps over train upgrade

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Former Light Rail Transit Authority administrator Jeremy Regino, incumbent LRTA chief Hernando Cabrera and seven other former and current officials of the agency are facing graft and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the allegedly anomalous contract for the upgrade and maintenance of LRT Line 2.

In a complaint filed on May 25, a copy of which was made available to media only yesterday, lawyer and anti-graft advocate Gerry Francisco urged the ombudsman to probe Regino, Cabrera and the other LRTA officials for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Francisco said the respondents must also be held liable for administrative offenses of grave misconduct, gross incompetence, gross neglect of duty and serious dishonesty.

Other LRTA officials charged were the current head of the LRTA interrelated discipline division Santos Abrazado, deputy administrator for operations and engineering Paul Chua, former LRTA engineering and maintenance department head Federico Canar Jr. who is now general manager of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, LRTA legal department head Jose Jobel Belarmino, LRTA principal engineers Cesar Legaspi and Hilfred Tusing, and LRTA procurement division head and former LRTA Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat head Aylwinston Pillos.

Named as private respondents were Yolanda Ong-Ramos and Joseph Ramos, owners of Multiscan Corp., officers of Woojin Industrial Machinery Co. and Ma. Grazia Lee, officer and shareholder of Worldleaders Transport Corp.

In his complaint, Francisco said the LRTA officials have caused undue injury to the government and commuters by allowing the Ramoses and Woojin Korea to conduct testing and supposed upgrade of three “good and running” trains.

Francisco said the supposed upgrade works were not included in the five-year LRT-2 maintenance contract awarded in 2018 to the joint venture of APT Global Inc., Multiscan Corp. and Opus Land Inc.

The complainant said that because of the unlawful upgrade works, three trains of the LRT-2 had to be pulled out, causing lost revenues for the government amounting to P247 million in 301 days.

Francisco said his computation was based on the average daily income of each train amounting to P911,680.

He asked the ombudsman to suspend the respondent LRTA officials while it is investigating the complaint.

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