Ex-Transport Sec. Abaya sued over unusable trains deal
First published: 3:58 p.m., May 5, 2017
Former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya and six others were sued before the Ombudsman with graft for entering into an allegedly disadvantageous contract with Chinese firm Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., which supplied unusable train coaches for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
The complaint was filed by the Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines, Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago, and United Filipino Consumers and Commuters.
Besides Abaya, the other respondents are Undersecretary Jose Lotilla, former chairperson of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC); former BAC members Rene Limcaoco, Julianito Bucayan Jr., Catherine Jennifer Gonzales; former project implementation team head Roman Buenafe, and current MRT-3 director for operations Deo Leo Manalo.
The complainants were represented by counsel Al Vitangcol, who faces numerous charges of graft and extortion before the Sandiganbayan for alleged corruption in the MRT-3 when he was its general manager.
Vitangcol faces trial for an alleged $30-million extortion try in exchange for contracts with the MRT and for graft for an alleged anomalous maintenance contract with the company PH Trams-CB&T where his uncle-in-law was an incorporator.
Abaya was cleared by the Office of the Ombudsman in the graft complaint involving PH Trams.
READ: Arrest warrant out vs Vitangcol for $30-M extort try | MRT fiasco: Vitangcol indicted for graft, Abaya spared
In the complaint, the groups accused the DOTC officials of violations of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for entering into an allegedly disadvantageous contract with Dalian.
The group said Dalian failed to comply with the contract when the coaches delivered did not have an onboard signaling system module.
“Without this component, the trains cannot operate on the railways. Obviously, the contract entered into by the respondents, on behalf of the government, is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same,” the complaint read.
The groups said the contract with Dalian caused injury to government due to the delivery of non-operational coaches which resulted in foregone revenues.:
According to the complaint, the government is bound to lose 178,200 passengers per day due to the unusable coaches, translating to P9,409,500 per day of lost fare.
“Using a very simple calculation, for a delay of three months – from February 2017 to April 2017 – the lost revenues is now about P847 million,” the complaint read.
“There are other unquantifiable damages, on the part of the riding public such travel inconvenience due to overcrowded trains, longer waiting and queueing time and the like, which should be taken into consideration,” the complaint added.
The filing of charges against the DOTC followed the resolution filed by Sen. Grace Poe calling for an inquiry into the 48 new but unusable Dalian Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) under the DOTC’s P3.8-billion contract with Dalian.
Poe lamented that the new Dalian coaches could not be used because they were not compatible with the MRT’s signaling system device.
Poe also called for an investigation into the current Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) maintenance contract with Busan Universal Rail, Inc. amid occasional MRT breakdowns. IDL/rga/atm
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