SEVERAL former officials of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and other individuals are facing a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over the awarding of the contract for the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) to the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI).
Named respondents in the complaint filed on Monday morning were former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, former DoTC-MRT3 General Manager Roman Buenafe; former DoTC Undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco, Catherine Gonzales, and; Ofelia Astrera, Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia, Oscar Bongon, Jose Rodante Sabayle, and Maria Cecilia Natividad who were formerly part of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
Eldonn Ferdinand Uy, Elizabeth Velasco, Belinda Ong Tan, Brian Velasco, and Chae-Gue Shim who were then-representatives of Edison Development and Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICORP, Inc., and Castan Corporation, respectively.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, Agham Secretary General Maria Finesa Cosico, as well as Train Riders Network members Angelo Suarez, Maria Donna Miranda, and James Relativo filed the complaint, accusing the respondents of violating Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and of violating Section 10 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
“The Public Respondents’ act of awarding the Maintenance Contract to the Joint Venture of Busan in conspiracy with the Private Respondents, caused undue injury, and was grossly disadvantageous, to the Government and to the riding public, as shown in the discussions below,” they alleged in the complaint.
The complainants alleged in part that the respondents then-public officers “chose a maintenance provider that utterly lacks the financial capability and technical expertise to carry out the maintenance of the MRT-3 System.”
The complainants also said that “despite the clear and unmistakable indications that the Joint Venture of Busan is not qualified to be the maintenance provider, the Public Respondents went ahead and awarded the Maintenance Contract to it. Thus, the Public Respondents patently entered into a contract that is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the Government.”
On November 6, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) terminated the contract with BURI.
The DoTr filed a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in October over the now terminated contract.
Named respondents were Abaya; Lopez, Limcaoco; Gonzales; Buenafe; former DoTC Assistant Secretary Camille Alcaraz who was then-BAC chairperson; then-BAC vice chairman Astrera; then-BAC provisional members Opulencia, Bongon, and Sabayle, and; then-BAC member Natividad.
Those who were from BURI were: Uy, Elizabeth Velasco; Tan, Brian Velasco; Chae-Gue Shim; Antonio Borromeo; Jun Ho Hwang; Elpidio Silvestre Uy; William de la Cruz, and Eugene Rapanut. The DoTr’s complaint also included John Does and Jane Does.
The DoTr alleged in part that “the Public Respondents allowed the implementation of the contract between DoTC and the Busan JV by BURI, which is not only a totally different entity, but a newly formed corporation lacking the required years of experience of at least fifteen (15) years of continuous experience from the submission of offer in the maintenance of railway system.”
Busan JV refers to the Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan, Inc. Joint Venture.