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Ex-MRT 3 official wants graft case dismissed

/ 05:01 AM January 21, 2019

Former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III has sought the dismissal of the graft charges against him as he challenged the evidence presented by Ombudsman prosecutors in the Sandiganbayan.

In a 38-page demurrer filed on Jan. 15 in the antigraft court’s Third Division, Vitangcol said the prosecution’s evidence fell short of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt in the MRT 3 maintenance deal case.

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The charges against the sacked MRT official arose from the awarding of the interim maintenance contract to the joint venture of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams) and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corp., allegedly without public bidding in 2012.

Vitangcol also supposedly failed to disclose that one of PH Trams’ incorporators, Arturo Soriano, was related to him by marriage.

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A demurrer to evidence seeks to cut short the trial on the grounds that the evidence against the accused would not be sufficient to land a conviction, even without rebuttal.

According to Vitangcol, the prosecution’s 10 witnesses do not have personal knowledge about the facts, circumstances and documentary evidence regarding the case.

“They are mere custodians of photocopies of said documents and cannot produce the originals of the same,” he said.

His demurrer also stressed that none of the evidence or testimonials presented in court pointed to his direct or indirect participation.

Vitangcol had argued that he was not the head of the procuring entity but a “mere end-user representative.” He said that the procurement process was done through the transportation department, then led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. —Jhesset O. Enano

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TAGS: Al Vitangcol, graft case, MRT 3, Office of the Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan
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