The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has found inconsistencies in the procurement of P170.3 million worth of equipment for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT 2) to warrant the filing of charges.
Documents from the PACC obtained by The Manila Times on Thursday showed that re-railing and rolling stock diagnostic equipment delivered for LRT 2 were different from the brand specified in the bidding conducted by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
The crate containing the equipment had a sticker printout identifying it as shipped by the Chinese firm CRRC Corp., as ordered by Kempal Construction and Supply Corp., the winning bidder.
The documents showed that the crate contained instead equipment from an Indian company, Bemco.
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), the operator of LRT 2, had asked Kempal Construction, Maan Construction Inc. and IFE Elevators Inc. to submit bids to supply the re-railing equipment.
Evidence “indicates that the re-railing equipment did not come from CRRC but from Bemco,” the corruption watchdog said.
It said it appears the signature in the LRTA Inspection and Acceptance Report was forged, facilitating the switch of equipment.
The commission also cited irregularities in the procurement of escalators for the LRT 2 stations.
It said the actual capacity of the escalators delivered by JV Maan-IFE was 6,000 persons per hour, short of the required capacity of 9,000 persons per hour.
“Worse, the as-built blueprints of the subject escalators show that those in the custody of LRTA were tampered, which are also different from the blueprints submitted by the Office of the Building Official of the City of Manila,” the commission said.
The escalators also broke down long before the expiration of the two-year warranty period.
“[This shows] that these escalators were really substandard and do not fit the requirements of the outdoor, heavy duty escalators that LRTA needed,” it said.
The PACC said it was considering suing seven individuals in connection with the procurement of the equipment. They were engineer Julito Bernales, Rodger Ravelo and Jorge Mendoza of the PS-DBM, a certain Noralyn Salvador who signed a report that states Kempal delivered brand new CRRC re-railing equipment.
Three LRTA staff, Romel Correa, Cesar Legaspi and Robert Ruiz, could also face charges, the commission said.
“Documents have shown that the flaws in these equipment were blatant, apparent, clear and easily ascertainable through ordinary ocular inspection of the documents and observation of the items. Specifically, in the case of the re-railing and the rolling stock diagnostic tools, these items were never used, and some LRTA employees said that they were never properly tested in order to ensure that they can carry the load for which they were bought,” the PACC said.
It said it endorsed before the Ombudsman charges against the individuals it named for violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3109, also known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
The LRTA management has not replied to The Manila Times’ request for comment as of Thursday afternoon.