Poe panel’s draft report recommends charges vs Abaya for MRT mess
A 45-PAGE draft report by the Senate subcommittee on public services being chaired by Senator Grace Poe has recommended the filing of appropriate charges against Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and other transportation officials for their “negligence “and “inactions” that resulted in the problems in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system.
The draft report was signed by Poe and submitted to Senator Serge Osmeña as head of the Senate committee on public services. A copy of it was released to the media though email early Wednesday evening.
“In the course of the inquiry with regard to malfunction problem of the MRT3, the subcommittee observed the badges of negligence and inactions of the Department of Transportation and Communications officials led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya indicating insensitiveness, callous indifference, and act disadvantageous to the commuters, the Filipino public and the government,” said the draft report.
“This report of the subcommittee should be submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice and the Civil Service Commission for appropriate actions and must be considered as initial leads as there are strong indications of violations of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as “the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” it added.
The draft report then cited pertinent provisions of the law that “could have been violated by DOTC officials involved directly on MRT3 operations.”
“The government must be sensitive and must care for the Filipino commuters. Our leaders are responsible for improving our transportation system,” it said.
“The need to address this is urgent as our transportation infrastructure is greatly tied with our economic development. It is through public transportation that the ordinary citizens are able to go to and from work and it is important that we continue to find solutions to enhance the safety and efficiency of our transportation system,” the draft added.
The other observations and recommendations of the subcommittee are the following:
* The enactment of the National Transportation Safety Board as the central independent agency of the Philippine government that would envision achieving the highest standards of excellence in investigating transportation issues, including aviation and surface transportation disasters and prevent the loss of lives through its thorough, accurate and independent investigations, results and recommendations of which shall be forwarded to Congress and concerned government agencies for proper action.
* As a short-term action, if there are service interruptions, vouchers for refund of fares must be implemented, there should be shuttle buses on standby to transport the stranded passengers, umbrellas and “tolda” must be available to ease the discomfort of the riding public while queuing.
* Consider the possibility of forging a termination to arbitration to buy out.
“It has been the request of the subcommittee that the parties meet, iron out and sort their differences with the possibility of terminating the arbitration and the possibility of the buyout and the proposal of rehabilitating the MRT3, at no cost to the government, taking into the consideration of the welfare of the Filipino commuters,” said the draft report.
“The awarding of contracts, be it for maintenance or new LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles), must be inspired by the government’s desire to improve the MRT3, the welfare of the riding public, and not due to the DOTC’s mistrust towards the MRTC (Metro Rail Transit Corporation).”
The recommendations were the result of five hearings and one ocular inspection conducted by Poe’s panel.
The draft report has to get the signatures of the majority of the committee members before it is transmitted to the plenary for either approval or adoption. But even before it could reach the plenary, Congress already adjourned its session this Wednesday night and it will resume after the election period.
Poe, who is running for president in May, has long been calling for either the resignation or dismissal of Abaya, who happens to be a partymate of her rival, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
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