The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) denied allegations of a conflict of interest in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension project, also known as the South Luzon Extension Project.
Earlier, radio and tabloid newspaper reports alleged impropriety among the Ayala group, BPI Family Savings Bank President Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, and DOTC Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco with regards to the LRT-1 bid won by a consortium that includes the Ayala group.
“There is no truth to the claim that a brother of Undersecretary Limcaoco was involved in the LRT-1 Cavite Extension PPP bidding. We confirm from our records that Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is not a director, officer or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any company forming the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.
He added: “The insinuations being made are clearly an attempt to cast doubt on the process that the DOTC conducted, which we categorically state to have been done in full accordance with law.”
Sagcal also said that the apparent purpose of critics is to block the award of the project. This he said is against the interest of hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Metro Manila and Cavite.
“They will be deprived of convenient and affordable access to more opportunities in the metropolis. The DOTC is confident in our actions and we are ready to defend this as well as the public’s interest in any forum,” he said.
Meanwhile, Eric Francia, group head for Corporate Strategy and Development, Ayala Corp. issued a statement also denying the possible confluence between the two Limcaocos.
Limcaoco was hired by Ayala as managing director in 1998 and seconded to Bank of the Philippine Islands in January 2007 as president of BPI Capital Corp. He was later named president of BPI Family Savings Bank in July 2010.
“Limcaoco has no management function at Ayala nor its infrastructure arm, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. He had no involvement in any of the PPP bids that the Ayala group has participated in. As such, we strongly affirm the absence of conflict of interest in any of the DOTC bids,” Francia said.
In June, the lone bidder for the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension project of the DOTC offered to pay the government a concession premium of P9.35 billion for the right to build, operate, and manage the new rail line.
The Light Rail Manila Consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on May 28 submitted the lone bid for the LRT-1 extension project.
The consortium is made up of Metro Pacific’s Light Rail Corp. with a 55-percent share; Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings, with 35 percent; and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Pte. Ltd., with 10 percent.
Already approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the LRT-1 Cavite extension project is the biggest infrastructure project under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.
The South Extension Project will extend the existing LRT Line 1, which covers 21 stations from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The Cavite project will extend the service line by 11.7 kilometers, covering 10 more stations that will pass through the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas up to Bacoor, Cavite.