THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) has filed a supplemental complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against several former Transportation officials, several former Cabinet members, and other individuals in connection with the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) maintenance service contract.
In the 64-page supplemental complaint-affidavit, the DoTr accused the respondents of plunder, violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Named respondents were former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, former Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, former National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, former Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya;
Former Transportation undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Gonzales; former MRT-3 General Manager Roman Buenafe; former Assistant Secretary Camille Alcaraz who was the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman; former BAC vice chairman Ofelia Astrera; former BAC provisional members Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia, Oscar Bongon, and Jose Rodante Sabayle; former BAC member Maria Cecilia Natividad; contractor Marlo de la Cruz; and Eldonn Ferdinand Uy, Elizabeth Velasco, Belinda Ong Tan, Brian Velasco, Chae-Gue Shim, Antonio Borromeo, Jun Ho Hwang, Elpidio Silvestre Uy, William de la Cruz, and Eugene Rapanut of Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI).
The complainants were Transportation Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra, Director for Legal Services and Acting Assistant Secretary for Procurement Giovanni Lopez, and lawyer Mark Steven Pastor.
“For the past eight months, from the start of the contract of BURI, they paid BURI…every month with P54 million. There was no deduction despite unperformed service and undelivered spare parts. So for us that’s reason enough to hold them accountable for the crime of plunder,” Lopez said in an interview.
Sought for comment, Abaya said: “[A]s a former senior government official I know full well that public office is a public trust. This means even after leaving office, I cannot, and will not, shirk my duty to face official proceedings to inquire into my stewardship of DoTC.
DoTC is the defunct Department of Transportation and Communications.
Lawyer Charles Mercado, spokesperson of BURI, said in a text message that “BURI has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. Nevertheless BURI is confident that it will be able to ad[d]ress and negate any charges against the company and its officials.”
The contract with BURI was terminated on November 6 amid the almost daily malfunctions and breakdowns plaguing the MRT-3.