Escudero urges Aquino to fire Abaya over transport woes
At the height of the “tanim-bala (bullet-planting) scam” hounding the country’s main international gateway, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero has called on President Benigno Aquino III to sack Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for supposedly “failing to serve the Filipino people and embarrassing the country before the international community.”
Escudero on Saturday said Abaya “clearly has no right” to remain in office amid the issues plaguing the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), namely, “poor Internet connection, exorbitant mobile fees, bullet-planting scam, horrible Metro Rail Transit (MRT) service, miserable airport facilities, and delays in license plates, car stickers, and driver’s license cards.”
“Humantong na sa punto na pati ang United Nations (UN) ay binigyan ng advisory ang kanilang mga tauhan na pupunta o manggagaling ng Pilipinas na ingatan ‘yung kanilang mga bagahe. Hindi po ba malaking kahihiyan ito?” Escudero said, referring to the internal memo released by the UN Department of Safety and Security advising its staff to secure their bags if passing through the Manila airport.
(It came to the point that even the United Nations has given advisory to its staff going to or coming from the Philippines to secure their baggage. Isn’t this a huge embarrassment?)
Escudero said the DOTC under Abaya’s watch had become a “source of embarrassment” for the administration, noting that no significant improvement in services had been delivered by the department since the latter took the helm.
The senator added that the problems confronting DOTC reflect Abaya’s “insensitivity to the plight of the people and his lack of grasp of the issues in the transportation and communication sectors.”
“Sa walong buwan na natitira sa termino ng administrasyon, sa tingin ko hindi na kayang masolusyonan ni Abaya ang lahat ng problemang yan. Huwag na nating pahabain ang pagtitiis ng publiko sa lahat ng problemang gawa ng kapalpakan ng kaniyang pamumuno,” he said.
(In the remaining eight months left for the administration’s term, I think that Abaya can’t solve all those problems. Let us not prolong the public’s woes on all the problems caused by the incompetence of his leadership.)
Escudero, who is seeking the vice presidency in the 2016 elections, also said Abaya was trying to avoid legislative inquiries on transportation issues, citing the canceled Senate hearing on the MRT-3 system last Wednesday headed by his 2016 running mate Sen. Grace Poe.
“Imbes po na hintayin natin mag-resign siya, sana sibakin na lamang din ni Pangulong Aquino dahil maliwanag naman po na malapit na nating tawaging krimen ang kanyang ginagawa,” he said.
(Instead of waiting for him to resign, I hope that President Aquino will fire him because it is clear that we can soon call a crime what he does.)
Aside from Escudero, fellow vice presidential aspirant Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has also sought the Office of the Ombudsman to suspend Abaya along with airport officials for supposed neglect of duty over the reported “bullet-planting” incidents.
In a press conference last Wednesday, Abaya has downplayed the extent of the alleged extortion scheme and encouraged lawmakers to review the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. RAM
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