Former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol 3rd on Tuesday said he is being persecuted by the prosecution when it opposed his request that he be provided copies of counter-affidavits submitted by Transportation officials.
Vitangcol is facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division along with five incorporators of the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation (PH Trams) in connection with the award of the MRT 3 interim maintenance deal to the joint venture of PH Trams and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corporation (CB&T) in 2012.
“The prosecution makes it too plain and simple to claim that ‘the accused-movant failed to show any good cause for the production of the requested documents, nor the materiality thereof to any matter.’ This is a disjointed reasoning of the prosecution!” he said in a reply filed on Tuesday.
Vitangcol added that the papers he is seeking are public documents because these were notarized.
He was responding to the prosecution’s opposition to his plea to the Sandiganbayan to direct the prosecution to provide him copies of the counter-affidavits of several officials including Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
The Ombudsman cleared the Transportation officials but filed charges against Vitangcol and five PH Trams incorporators — Arturo Soriano, Wilson de Vera, Marlo dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit and Federico Remo.
Vitangcol believes that he can use the counter-affidavits of Transportation officials in his defense because in these documents, the officials claimed that the contract was above-board.
“Why is the government, through the prosecution, adamant in releasing such documents to the herein accused? What is the prosecution afraid of if and when the accused gets hold of such material evidence? Is it because these pleadings include averments and defenses favorable to accused Vitangcol?” he said.
Vitangcol then invoked Sections 1 and 14 of Article III, or the Bill of Rights, of the 1987 Constitution in arguing that he is entitled to secure production of evidence in his behalf.
He said the prosecution’s move “is tantamount to persecution.”
“The swiftness and over-eagerness of the Ombudsman to prosecute herein accused, is a clear example of persecution,” Vitangcol added.
“Though originally accused as only one of the sixteen  government officials, accused Vitangcol is now charged as a principal, the one and only, and denied access to vital material evidence, through the courtesy of the prosecution,” he said.
Vitangcol reiterated his request to the anti-graft court that he be given copies of the counter-affidavits of Abaya, Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Undersecretary Rafael Antonio Santos, Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, Assistant Secretary Ildefonso Patdu, Land Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Honorito Chaneco, negotiating team member Geronimo Quintos and PH Trams incorporator Wilson de Vera.