DOTC ‘approach’ ploy to raise funds for LP

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The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said the “multidisciplinary approach” by Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya is a way for the Liberal Party (LP) to pocket public funds.

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Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman on political affairs, said the “number one” beneficiary of Abaya’s multidisciplinary approach was the same company–Global Epcom–owned by an ally–Marlo dela Cruz–of the LP.

Instead of only one contractor–the joint venture of Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique–for maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, the DOTC opted to have seven different companies for the seven aspects of the train system’s maintenance needs.

The joint venture of Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique only cost MRT 3 P51.75 million a month while the seven contractors would cost the train system double that amount.

Basing his analysis on DOTC’s own website and press releases, Quicho said at least four items–rail tracks and permanent ways, communications systems, single ticketing system and buildings and facilities–amount to P61.48 million.

On the other hand, the three other maintenance works–rolling stock (coaches) and depot equipment, power supply and overhead catenary and conveyance systems (elevators and escalators)–were naturally more expensive to maintain, he noted.

Quicho said maintaining buildings and facilities alone would cost P23.35 million although this was the easiest to perform as it only pertained to cleaning of stations.

“Easy money,” he called it.

The Binay spokesman lambasted Abaya’s call for those with suggestions on how to address the MRT 3 issues to have coffee with him to discuss their proposals.

Quicho dared Abaya to just ride MRT 3 with him for one week with no security detail and no undersecretaries with him.

He said Abaya should line up together with the commuters during rush hour, and challenged him to explain his “multidisciplinary approach” to those suffering to get a ride at MRT 3.

“Local and foreign train experts find this illogical and dangerous. Why break up the maintenance work into seven companies? There will be no more single point of responsibility,” Quicho said.

“Kapag may aberya, kanya-kanyang turuan ang mangyayari [When there are problems, the contractors will point at each other],” he added.

According to Quicho, the set-up would see representatives of the seven companies at the MRT control center during operating hours.

If a breakdown or accident occurs, the representatives will inform their respective head offices.

They will then try to pinpoint the one responsible for the breakdown or accident.

“Most likely they will blame each other. Only after responsibility is established will they react,” the lawyer said.

This was apparently explained to the bidders for the seven scopes of work.

“The DOTC has clearly institutionalized kapalpakan [ineptitude]in its Term of Reference for contractors,” Quicho said.

Meanwhile, he also scored the DOTC on its negotiated contractor–Global Epcom, the authorized representative of which is dela Cruz–the chairman of erstwhile MRT 3 maintenance contractor PH Trams.

PH Trams was the maintenance contractor from October 2012 to August 2013.
But Global Epcom took over from September 2013 to June 2015.

That was after dela Cruz and other PH Trams incorporator-directors were identified by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar in April 2013 as extorters of $30 million from Inekon Corp. in July 2012.

According to Quicho, dela Cruz and his father were top fund-raisers and campaigners for President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd in Pangasinan in 2010.

Roxas run against Binay, but lost.

“It goes without saying that Marlo dela Cruz is also close to Abaya. We were told he can get appointments for contractors to meet with the Transportation secretary,” Quicho said.

“Instead of dishing our highfalutin alibis for his failures in MRT 3, Secretary Abaya should explain why Marlo dela Cruz is so influential in the DOTC and why he gives out contracts to Liberal party mates,” he added.

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