• Vitangcol posts bail, says charges ‘baseless’

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    Former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) General Manager Al Vitangcol 3rd on Thursday dismissed graft charges filed against him last week as “baseless.”

    The cases stemmed from an alleged extortion try on representatives of Czech company Inekon Group in connection with a contract or transaction for supply of Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs), and an alleged request for the Inekon representatives to forge a joint venture deal with a group in connection with the contract or transaction for the train system’s maintenance service.

    “[I have said this before, we already showed documents but the Ombudsman is very selective. There are documents that they look into, and some that they do not want to look into…],” Vitangcol told reporters in an interview after he posted bail on Thursday when asked on the alleged extortion attempt.

    “[I have said before that what he was saying is a lie],” he said, referring to then-Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar who exposed the matter to the public.

    The Manila Times’ Chairman Emeritus Dante Ang was the first to report about the meetings held between Inekon officials and Vitangcol, who left office in 2014.

    The Office of the Ombudsman filed two charge sheets on November 23 accusing Vitangcol and Wilson de Vera of violation of Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    Vitangcol posted a total of P60,000 bail for his provisional liberty after the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division where the cases are pending.

    The court has recalled the arrest warrant as to de Vera after the latter posted P60,000 bail on Tuesday.

    De Vera pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was conditionally arraigned on Thursday for purposes of a travel clearance, which he is seeking from the court for a trip to the United States from December 20 to January 6 for business purposes.

    In filing the cases, the Ombudsman alleged that Vitangcol, through de Vera, attempted to extort money in 2012 from representatives of Czech company Inekon Group in connection with the contract or transaction for the supply of Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) or supposedly in exchange for the selection of Inekon as supplier of the LRVs.

    The Inekon representatives turned down the alleged request or demand for $30 million so the sum was supposedly reduced to $2.5 million, which the Inekon representatives also refused.

    According to the charge sheet, the alleged request or demand for the money was supposedly made by de Vera on July 9, 2012 at Rychtar’s Makati City (Metro Manila) residence.

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