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DOTr files plunder raps vs erring officials over MRT mess; Palace assures better train services Featured

Malacañang on Tuesday, November 21, reiterated the Duterte administration’s strong commitment to go after erring government officials who failed in their duty of delivering government services to the Filipino people.

 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced in a Malacanang press briefing that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) filed plunder complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman against former officials involved in the alleged anomalous Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) maintenance service contract.

 

“We must stress that the great suffering of the riding public as a result of the failure to deliver on the responsibilities of public office, such as the case of the current state of the MRT-3 system, carries consequences and that those accountable will be held liable,” Roque said.

 

Complaints were filed against former Cabinet members in the Aquino administration, including former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and former Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya, for allegedly rigging the bidding for MRT-3 contracts in favor of maintenance contractor Busan Universal Railways Inc. (BURI).

 

Roque said the move to award the contracts to an inexperienced and unworthy contractor led to systemic problems in the train system.

 

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) filed before the Office of the Ombudsman a Plunder complaint, and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Government Procurement Reform Act, against former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya and former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas for the alleged anomalous multi-billion peso MRT-3 maintenance service contract. (Photo Courtesy: DOTr)

 

“‘Yang mga breakdown pong ‘yan hindi nangyayari kung tinutupad nung BURI ‘yung kanyang contractual undertakings… [B]akit tinanggal doon sa isang service provider na malaki, may reputasyon at napakatagal naman ng track record sa DOTC dati at pinalitan ng hindi kakilalang kumpanya na nag-resulta ngayon sa napakasamang serbisyo ng MRT,” Roque noted.

 

Nevertheless, the Palace Spokesperson assured the public that under the Duterte administration, Filipinos can expect better solutions to their long-standing MRT woes.

 

Roque said he had discussed the matter with DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who gave his assurance that there would be positive steps taken to revamp the MRT-3.

 

“He assured me number one, that they are going to procure a reliable maintenance contractor; number two, they’re building new rails. They’re buying new train cars and new signaling system,” Roque reported.

 

A safety audit is also currently being conducted to ensure the security of the riding public, Roque added.

 

Roque for his part expressed hope in the DOTr’s ability to address the problem. He even offered to take the MRT once a week so he could personally inspect its services.

 

“I think Secretary Tugade knows that we’re looking up to him for a solution. [W]e’re crying for a quick solution and I’m sure that Secretary Tugade and Usec. [Cesar] Chavez are really taking all the necessary steps,” he said.

 

Palace to work with DOJ in filing cases vs Maute group
During the same press briefing, Spokesperson Roque announced that the Palace would be working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in building cases against members of the Maute Group for violations of the international humanitarian law.

 

“Someone has to take up the cudgels for the victims of war crimes in domestic armed conflicts,” Roque said.

 

“We will do this knowing that the CHR (Commission on Human Rights) will not be [of] any help in according victims of the Maute terrorist group justice,” he added.

 

Roque decried the Commission’s failure to conduct a probe on the atrocities committed by the terror group in Mindanao. He said the CHR had been too preoccupied with its investigations on the alleged human rights violations of the government.

 

“It is always atrocities allegedly committed by state agents. And their position has been consistent, the role is to document abuses of human rights committed by state agents which is wrong, because international humanitarian law punishes everyone even non-state actors,” Roque cited. (PCO-Content)
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