The subject, first taken up by our chairman emeritus, Dante Ang, has apparently touched a raw nerve.
In a three-part series in The Manila Times, Mr. Ang divulged the extortion attempt by high-ranking officials of the Metro Rail Transit, with the important players depicted and their role in it explained.
Now a probe is set to be conducted on the matter.
The author described what is contained in a document made available to him, specifically the conversations, during a series of meetings between MRT general manager Al Vitangcol 3rd and Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar, and other characters who played supporting roles in the drama.
In one of the meetings someone suggested that Inekon officials give Mr. Vitangcol and his group “a $30 million gift”, apparently as a precondition for the firm to be given the P3.769-billion MRT contract.
Inekon is a Czech company interested in supplying trains under the MRT 3 Capacity Expansion Project.
The ambassador was aghast, reminding everyone that commission, especially of such magnitude, was impossible under a government-to-government contract.
Mr. Ang wrote the article to set the record straight.
A few days before, one newspaper ran a story alleging that Ballsy Aquino Cruz, the President’s sister, and her husband, Eldon, asked Inekon for $30 million in exchange for an outcome of the bidding favorable to the company. The report also stated that husband and wife traveled to Prague, along with two trusted friends, for that purpose.
As Mr. Ang saw it, Ballsy and Eldon were innocent, and yet the story revolved around them, while it was silent about people in the document—people who may have tried to make a fast buck, if there was indeed an attempt.
The report was an all-too-transparent ploy to deflect attention from people at MRT and the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Our chairman emeritus made it clear that he was not defending the Presidential relatives or anybody for that matter. He only wanted an investigation to be conducted into the matter, with the government, if it is at all interested in the truth, focusing on the people who may be guilty.
The document that was made the basis of then an exclusive report is complete with names, dates, places, and snippets of conversation. The information it contains is so detailed it could only have come from an insider.
Ambassador Rychtar confirmed what Mr. Ang had said about Ballsy and Eldon, which was that they were innocent of the charge leveled against them. He did say, however, that he had had several meetings with the group, again as Mr. Ang depicted it.
An honest-to-goodness investigation need only follow the strands to arrive at the truth.