Prosecution nixes ex-MRT 3 exec’s bid to cut trial short
Ombudsman prosecutors have objected to the attempt of former Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT) general manager Al Vitangcol III to downplay his role in the awarding of the train system’s 2012 maintenance deal to the company of his wife’s uncle.
In their reply, prosecutors asked the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division to deny Vitangcol’s motion for permission to file his demurrer.
Filed after the prosecution rests its case, a demurrer seeks to cut the trial short on the grounds that the evidence against the accused would not be sufficient to lead to conviction, even if left unrebutted.
The graft case arose from the awarding of the interim MRT 3 maintenance deal to the joint venture of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams) and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corp. (CB&T) allegedly without public bidding.
Also questioned was the alleged failure to disclose that Arturo Soriano, one of PH Trams’ incorporators, was related to Vitangcol by marriage.
Vitangcol had argued that he was not the head of the procuring entity (HOPE), since the procurement process was done through the transportation department.
As a “mere end-user representative,” he argued he was “not clothed with the authority to decide on his own relative to procurement matters.”
Although Vitangcol was indeed not the HOPE, prosecutors said his relationship to Soriano should have been disclosed since he was the end-user and head of the negotiating team.
“From these pieces of evidence, he cannot downplay the role he played in the whole negotiation process that was instrumental for the recommendation of PH Trams-CB&T joint venture,” the prosecutors said.
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