• Palace numbers days of MRT 3 ‘plunderers’


    MALACAÑANG has warned members of the so-called Pangasinan group, whose members allegedly are plundering the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.

    Pangasinan is a province in the country’s Northern Luzon.

    According to a whistleblower, Palace spokesman Harry Roque revealed on Wednesday, only one-third of the budget allocated for the problem-plagued MRT 3 is used for operations of the train system.

    The members of the “Pangasinan group” allegedly receive one-third of the budget of MRT 3 while the remaining one-third is allegedly used for the political machinery of the group.

    “[I cannot name these members] because investigation is ongoing, although I am sure they are watching now. Justice will come for you soon,” Roque said in a news briefing.

    “It is now in the process of investigation and this is what I promised to do. I have some documentary evidence already. Perhaps beginning next week, I will devote one day a week in disclosing facts and details about the plunder of MRT 3,” he added.

    Roque said he would give notice to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) before baring the documents to the public.

    He added that he received the first batch of the documents on Thursday.

    “I am directly turning over the documents to the NBI and the DoJ, so we will see what they will do with the documents. But in due course, after I’ve submitted the documents, we could release even some of these official documents in the following weeks,” Roque said.

    “I promised that this will be a continuing activity that we will have here, which is dissecting the plunder of MRT 3,” he added.

    Roque disclosed that there is another whistleblower, who is also an insider and also “directly involved in the MRT 3.”

    He, however, said sacked MRT 3 general manager Al Vitangcol 3rd is not a whistleblower “yet.”

    “[Vitangcol] has been speaking for quite some time now. Let’s just say that with independent information being furnished me right now, perhaps I should go out of my way and refer [Vitangcol] also to the NBI,” Roque added.

    Malacañang, according to the spokesman, is hoping that an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman will be started as well and that it will be fair even if Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is an “ally of the Aquino administration.”

    “[A parallel investigation by the Ombudsman should be conducted] without prejudice. And we are hoping that the Ombudsman is conducting its own parallel investigation [of the plunder of the MRT 3]because an official complaint has already been filed. [The Office of] the Ombusdman, if there is an evidence lacking, they can get it. If the [office]does not want [to get it], we have no choice,” Roque said.

    During a Cabinet meeting on Monday, he added, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to file new cases against former Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) officials over the problems in the MRT 3.

    “There was a decision that cases will be pursued [against]those behind the miserable performance of the MRT 3, there are pending complaints for plunder against officials of the previous administration, specifically for awarding the maintenance contract to a company with absolutely no track record,” Roque said.

    He dropped the names of former DoTC Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and former Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad as those who will be at the receiving end of the cases.


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