Roxas squarely responsible for MRT-3 mess


It is President Benigno S. Aquino’s criminal negligence that resulted in 44 police commandos massacred; that should convince us never, never again to have such kind of yellow leadership, especially that of a haciendero scion.

It is the criminal mismanagement by his candidate, Manuel Roxas 2nd, of the main mass transport system of Metro Manila that has made the MRT-3 a daily hell for hundreds of thousands of commuters. That should be enough to convince every Filipino never ever again to vote into any position of power anybody from the yellow cult, especially a haciendero scion.

Consider the facts and tell me if I am exaggerating.

For 10 years after MRT3 started operations, the Japanese firm Sumitomo Corp. maintained the system under a contract with Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), the MRT-3 builder. The train was so efficient that Sumitomo would boast about MRT-3 in its sales pitch for bidding for similar projects around the world.

Sumitomo’s contract expired July 2010, and was renewed on a six-month basis only, but for four times by the MRTC, subject to DOTC’s approval. MRTC chairman Robert Sobrepeña told this writer that Sumitomo was in a bind – it required a longer time frame, so it would estimate how much of maintenance inventory it needed to keep, which actually cost half of its more than $1 million monthly contract. Sobrepeña and Sumitomo continually wrote letters to the DOTC to request a bidding for a longer-term contract. “We got absolutely no reply,” he said.

In the letter of DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya published in response to columnist Jarius Bondoc’s well-researched exposes, the secretary wrote:

“On 4 October 2012, the MRTC wrote the DOTC, informing the latter that it would no longer procure a maintenance service contractor once Sumitomo’s contract would expire (sic) on 19 October 2012.

Another day, another aberya: Passengers getting off the MRT-3 that conked out between stations. Inset: The two Liberal Party bigwigs responsible.

Another day, another aberya: Passengers getting off the MRT-3 that conked out between stations. Inset: The two Liberal Party bigwigs responsible.

Given the short period of time left before said contract would expire, the DOTC resorted to a simplified bidding process in line with the Procurement Law (Republic Act No. 9184) beginning in the first week of October 2012.”

Abaya lying
Abaya was lying so the blame would be on MRTC, that it suddenly stopped Sumitomo’s contract.

It was the DOTC’s MRT-3 General Manager Al Vitangcol who told the MRTC in early September that it would no longer agree to extend Sumitomo’s contract.

The DOTC officially informed the MRTC on October 4 that Sumitomo’s contract would not be extended. It then scheduled a bidding in two weeks, a “simplified” one, which involved simply the submission of bids, and for government to negotiate with what it felt was the best bidder. It justified this by claiming it was an emergency move taken in order to prevent, to quote its letter, “a stoppage of MRT-3’s operations, which would have severely disrupted the daily transportation needs of its close to 600,000 riders.”

That was the start of MRT-3’s deterioration.

Note that all this time, when a proper bidding could have been undertaken and bidders given all the time to prepare for it – two years after Sumitomo’s contract expired July 2010 – the head of the DOTC, the Cabinet member in charge of this crucial mass transit system, was Roxas.

Totally unexpected however – although conspiracy theorists allege another scenario – was the death of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo Aug. 18, with Aquino announcing Aug. 31, 2012 that Roxas would replace him.

However, Roxas assumed his DILG post only Oct. 19, the day the Sumitomo contract expired, and an obscure PH Trams-CB&T, was designated winner of the simplified bidding.

PH Trams-CB&T was a brand new company only two months old, and had a subscribed capitalization of only P2.5 million, or equivalent to only a 120th part of the P300 million cost of the MRT-3 maintenance contract it was given.

One of its six investors was known in Pangasinan province as a Liberal Party financial supporter – Wilson de Vera. He had been accused by the Czech ambassador of attempting in July 2012 to extort $30 million from the Czech company Inekon in exchange for winning the contract to supply MRT-3 its train cars.

On Dec. 15, the Ombudsman filed charges against Vitangcol, who signed the contract for MRT-3 and all of PH Trams incorporators for corruption involving the contract’s award. That’s another case why I question the Ombudsman’s integrity: Why weren’t Vitangcol’s bosses, first Roxas, and then Abaya, charged?

Why did Roxas drag his feet for a month-and-a-half to leave his DOTC post Oct. 19, even if Aquino had appointed him to the DILG post Aug. 31? Is this a huge coincidence that Oct. 19 was after the PH Trams closed the contract with MRT-3?

Am I too biased to suspect that Roxas was a segurista, that he wanted to make sure that his two-year plot to get a favored contractor in place before he stepped down pushed through? Was it even a better scenario for him that his apparently witless lackey, Abaya, and Vitangcol signed the contract papers and, therefore, would be accountable if the scheme wax exposed?

What these morons did not realize, though, was that Sumitomo’s maintenance contract was not as profitable as it seemed. Half of the contract price was the cost of inventory for the MRT-3’s parts, which were expensive because many of them were precision-engineered and of the highest-quality steel.

What the idiots didn’t know
What these idiots did not know was the typical Japanese business model that is so different from the Americans. Japanese companies have a longer-term strategy, so that they agree to the smallest margins, as long as their reputation is built up for more and bigger projects. Its MRT-3 maintenance contract barely made a profit, but Sumitomo used the rail’s efficiency as a sample of its expertise in light rail building.

Indeed, Sumitomo has built up a reputation as one of the best light-rail builders in the world, with its latest projects being the $500 million contract signed in 2012 to build Vietnam’s first urban rail system and a $398 million supply contract for Chicago Metra’ commuter rail cars.

Trying to scrimp on cost as much as it could from its contract, PH Trams didn’t build up a stock of spare parts that it had to cannibalize its other cars for the required parts. The result: the number of cars running at present stands at 14 at the most, down sharply from 70 when Sumitomo was running MRT-3.

Without replacements, the trains’ steel wheels have also become squeezed into ovals so that now these have to run slower or they would be derailed. With maintenance becoming so messed up, MRT-3 trains have been stopping at mid-stations, are so few, or run so slowly.

But Abaya may not really be the person he may think he is, since he appears so “what-me-worry?” confident even if it has become obvious to many that he messed up MRT-3, that it is an accident waiting to happen.

On Christmas eve, Abaya awarded a new P4 billion contract to a Korean-Filipino consortium consisting of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMCI Corp Inc., and Castan Corp. As what happened during Roxas’ time, Abaya claimed there was an emergency situation so that the “winner” of the bid was determined through negotiations.

Roxas, when he was about to assume the six-year term of the top DOTC post, awarded only six-month contracts for the MRT-3. Abaya – who is also the Liberal Party president, by the way – having only less than six months to go before he leaves the DOTC as its secretary, signs a contract for three years, i.e., until 2018, long after he is gone. I think Abaya turns out to be more clever than Roxas.

If the Senate is reinvestigating the Mamasapano massacre, they might as well investigate the MRT-3 mess, which could, if uncorrected, lead to accidents killing more than those murdered by the Moro insurgents in Mamasapano.


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  1. Abaya’s negligence again causes another Aberya for MRT and inconvenience on commuters, because they have to walk along the track for them to reach the exit and wait for another delayed train to ride. After passengers suffer they will not receive or hear any apology from ABAYA but instead you will hear Abaya lying, making alibis and blaming others on what happened.

  2. Excuse me totos, parang kang si Abnoy..sinisi si marcos na walang sapat na ebidensiya.. hindi katulad ni abnoy, pangita ayaw pang umamin,….
    pathetic.. na mga dilawan…

  3. Roxas knew that come 2016, he need billions of campaign funds to win the presidency. He thought that trains are all the same (like the trains in Japan) and never fail and arrive on time always. He also thought that rails and train wheels never wear out cause its made of steel. Mar Roxas asked his dorobo boys to get Sumitomo out of the maintenance contract and come up with a do nothing maintenance outfit and pocket the monthly maintenance cost. What a brilliant idea to insure his presidential ambition. This happened with the complete blessing of Pnoy.

  4. di ba sabi ni abnoy, este, noynoy, boss niya tayong mga pilipino? buweno, gusto ko siya at si roxas na sumakay ng mrt-3 every day bago siya bumaba sa puwesto. kahit isang buwan lang. pero walang kasamang hawi boys or alalay. hayaan natin silang umakyat ng napakatarik na hagdan ng mrt dahil di umaandar ang elevators at escalators. hayaan natin silang maghyper ventilate or ma-suffocate sa sikip at init ng kakarag-karag na tren. hayaan natin silang makipag-cheek-to-cheek sa strangers na kasakay niya sa tren. sigurado namang di sila matutumba sa loob ng tren dahil sobra sikip–as in bumper to bumper (buttocks to buttocks). hindi na makatao ang kalagayan sa mrt ngayon dahil sa kanila. sa akin lang, criminal na yan.

  5. 1. MRTC in 2012 told DOTC it is giving up its authority to choose maintenance operator as DOTC insists only six months contracts.
    2. MRT-3 manager is under the authority of DOTC secretary.

  6. anthony debussy on

    observers are saying that the reason why pnoy can’t or won’t fire dotc sec abaya is because abaya might squeal on their–pnoy, mar roxas and abaya’s–rackets at the dotc and mrt including the multi million php toilet racket.

  7. Japanese train makers are the best in the world and Sumitomo is one of them. In Japan, train accidents are very rare because of the good maintenance of their trains. Japanese train makers are well trained and experienced in train systems and their maintenance. Why change from a proven maintenance contractor like Sumitomo, to an unproven one like PH Trams?

  8. yung mga yellowtards..

    sisihin nyo si GMA..
    sisihin nyo si Marcos..

    hindi yata kayo sumasakay ng MRT.. Boto nyo si Mar Roxas.. para ipagpatuloy ang Daang Matuwad!

  9. Noynoy only has less than 6 months left. After a new President is elected, they (Noynoy, Mar, Abaya, etc.) will be facing plunder charges as well, and will be confined at the St. Luke’s Hospital.

    • They will not be convicted just like every other politician. Who is going to charge them ? Certainly not their allies who are appointed to their positions as heads of the Dept of Justice or the Ombudsman Office.

      De Lima and Morales are the Liberal parties hired guns to charge the opposition.

      The Senate Yellow Ribbon committee ? They spent the past year making accusations against a opposition presidential candidate instead of their job.

  10. Excuse me, Mr. Tiglao, si dictator, corrupt, human rights violator,plunderer former Pres. Marcos may kasalanan ng lahat.

  11. Mr Tiglao, it would serve the public well to also look at why the very effective Jose Ping de Jesus resigned from the DOTC, and paved the way for Mar Roxas’ entry into said department. Insiders would know how the plans and programs of de Jesus, including the crucial MRT maintenance, and NAIA re-development, were all nixed by Roxas…

    The guy really is an inept public official, is clueless and detached with reality, and has only delusion of grandeur that was inculcated by an ambitious mother.

    Mar Roxas will never win the presidency because no amount of deodorizing and epalism can ever mask his idiocy in governance.

  12. If Enrile can combine the SAF 44 investigation with another investigation of Smartmatic’s unexplained anomalies it could produce enough national indignation that lead to a possible collapse of this regime. I hope in his old age he is still up to the task.

    • Guess what is the intent of JPE to revive the Mamasapano 44. He has done this diversionary tactic before and he’ll do it again. I believe Napenas knew everything and he should take full responsibility.

  13. whats confusing? you said…
    ” the Japanese firm Sumitomo Corp. maintained the system under a contract with Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), the MRT-3 builder.”
    Then why has the government the personality to negotiate the contract with Sumitomo and revise the term to just 6-month periods.
    You said…
    “the Ombudsman filed charges against Vitangcol, who signed the contract for MRT-3 and all of PH Trams incorporators for corruption involving the contract’s award”
    then why include other who have no signature in the transaction?

  14. juan dela cruz on

    Mr. Tiglao is implying that maybe it is best time for the Philippines to have a theft president or a murderer president or even a FilAm President to run the government also having Mr. Tiglao as DOTC chief. He seems to know all.

  15. I just hope Busan can maintain the MRT 3 system better than PH Trans or comparable to Sumitomo. I bet if the new trains supplied by Dalian of China will be more expensive if you add the cost of the engines that will be supplied by a German company.

    • If the reports are true, Busan is just there to deodorize the suspicious ’emergency’ procurement with no public bidding. Who would question the awarding to such a topnotch contractor, right? But the same reports claim that Busan holds only a 4% share of that deal and the other 96% goes to those Filipino members of the consortium who are into construction supplies (Edison), agricultural machinery (Tramat), plumbing (Castan) and general merchandise (Times Merchandising or TMCI). *Do you see any railway specialist on the list?!* Yet these are the clowns who will be receiving almost the entire budget allocation!
      The engine-less Dalian trains with no signals system are cheaper, as you said. Consider, too, that Dalian Locomotive manufactures only trains for ground-level railways, not elevated light rail. Despite the contract stating that the cars have to be tested Dalian could not since they test only locomotives. That’s why the whole mess is assembled from different sources, including the bogeys (wheels). It wasn’t designed to run on our Czech-designed system, so Abaya has to make ‘tapal’ and ‘remedyo’ like some neighborhood ‘talyer’.