THE Sandiganbayan has issued a gag order against former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd to prevent him from publicly airing accusations against former Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) General Manager Al Vitangcol 3rd in connection with the botched MRT maintenance deal.
“I’m very happy with the decision of the Sandiganbayan. I consider this a victory for me against Mr. Roxas,” Vitangcol told reporters at the weekly Fernandina media forum in Greenhills, San Juan City on Wednesday.
Vitangcol had asked the anti-graft court to immediately issue a gag order against Roxas to stop him from using the issue in the upcoming third and final presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections.
On Tuesday, the Sandiganbayan granted Vitangcol’s motion and prohibited all presidential candidates from discussing the alleged anomaly in the MRT maintenance deal.
Vitangcol said he fears that Roxas will accuse him again of wrongdoing in the upcoming debate on Sunday. The former MRT official lamented that during the debate held on March 20 in Cebu City, Roxas made statements which supposedly touched on the merits of his pending graft cases before the Sandiganbayan. During that debate, Vice President Jejomar Binay scored Roxas for being allegedly involved in the anomaly in the MRT maintenance deal.
“If he [Roxas] or any of the presidential candidates mention my case, they will find themselves in contempt of court,” Vitangcol said.
He said he is also covered by the gag order, so he too is prohibited from discussing his case.
The former MRT official is facing graft charges over the allegedly anomalous MRT-3 maintenance contract in 2012 and 2013.