Bayan: If Abaya’s innocent, why not charge Roxas on MRT fiasco?
If Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya supposedly knew nothing about the anomalous $11.5-million maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), then why not charge former Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II?
This was the question posed by militant group Bayan on Monday as it raised doubts on why Abaya was spared from the graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman over the MRT fiasco.
“If the Ombudsman is saying that Abaya was new to the DOTC and therefore did not know that the contract was anomalous, why not investigate Mar Roxas who was DOTC secretary when the contract was negotiated?” said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes in a statement.
Despite being appointed only two days before the anomalous contract was awarded to Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams), Reyes said Abaya “could have delayed and reviewed” it.
“The questionable maintenance deal could not have been accomplished without the knowledge of top DOTC officials, including the department secretary and the bids and awards committee,” Reyes said.
In a 39-page resolution, the Ombudsman found probable cause to charge former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol and PH Trams incorporators Wilson De Vera, Arturo Soriano, Marlo Dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit, and Federico Remo with graft for awarding the maintenance contract without public bidding. Soriano is an uncle of Vitangcol’s wife.
But the Ombudsman said it failed to find probable cause against Abaya, acting president of the ruling Liberal Party.
“Is it only mere coincidence that two of Vitangcol’s co-accused have links to the Liberal Party headed by Roxas and Abaya?” he added.
In a press conference, a fiery Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the cases she has been filing were not politically motivated, citing the sacking of resigned police chief Alan Purisima, a known ally and friend of President Aquino III.
Calling for accountability, Reyes said MRT commuters already had enough suffering from the train system’s numerous breakdowns over the past months, adding that “selective prosecution would only add insult to injury.”
“Either Vitangcol is a genius scammer able to pull-off the multimillion dollar deal without the knowledge of the entire DOTC, or DOTC officials are just hopelessly incompetent,” Reyes said. AU
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