The private owner of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3), Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) led by Robert John Sobrepeña, deems Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya responsible for the impairment of the rail system.
“There is no question that the dilapidated state of the MRT 3 today is due to the inexcusable inaction and questionable actions of the DOTC,” Sobprepena said in a statement on Tuesday.
Abaya recently made a comment that Sobrepena is “playing politics” after the latter said the DOTC chief together with Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, who led the Transportation department from 2011 to 2012, may be liable for graft.
“We are not playing politics. Our primary concern is public safety. Our only other concern is to ensure that the DOTC does not damage the MRT 3 system which we own.” Sobrepeña said.
MRTC noted the mistakes and missteps made by the DOTC began under the leadership of Roxas and led to the deterioration of the MRT 3.
“The first mistake of the DOTC that caused the damage to the MRT 3occurred when then-Secretary Mar Roxas did not initiate bidding procedures in January 2012, the last time they renewed the Sumitomo contract,” Sobrepeña said.
He pointed out that in fact Roxas should have commenced the bidding process as far back as July 2011 when they extended the Sumitomo contract for the third time or at least in January 2012 when the DOTC renewed the Sumitomo contract for the fourth and last time.
The private owner said the process should commence in anticipation of the expiration of the current contract.
“Roxas should have already commenced the bidding process immediately and coordinated with MRT Corp. for approval when they extended the contract of Sumitomo not just once but twice when he was in office. Instead, they created what they call an “emergency,” which was really not an emergency but a situation created by their inaction,” Sobrepeña explained.
MRTC also pointed out that was when DOTC negotiated with PH Trams.
The proposal of PH Trams was submitted August 6, during Roxas’ term.
Sobrepeña said another mistake the DOTC made was when its Office-in-Charge Rafael Santos, as undersecretary of operations, signed the Notice to Proceed in favor of PH Trams on Ocober 19, 2012, before Abaya signed the contract.
And the final blow, he added, was when Abaya signed and gave finality to the PH Trams contract.
The MRTC is also questioning the proposal of PH Trams to MRT Corp., copy furnished to DOTC’s then-Secretary Roxas and MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol, to become a maintenance provider was dated August 6, 2012—the very same date of the incorporation of PH Trams.
“How can you possibly accept a proposal from a company that incorporated on the date they proposed? How could they entrust the maintenance contract for a public utility worth hundreds of millions to a company with a paid-up capital of only P600,000?” Sobrepeña asked.
“The prudent thing to do would have been to disqualify PH Trams outright, considering that their registration was done on the very same day as the submission of their proposal.
The DOTC secretary then should have disqualified that company because it was a newly formed company, undercapitalized and with no experience,” he said.
“This is a train, a mass transport that carries 600,000 people a day. You cannot be careless when it involves peoples’ lives,” Sobrepena added.
The Manila Times sought Abaya’s side but learned that he was not available to comment at press time.