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MRT GRAFT CASE

Vitangcol: I’m just a fall guy

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:14 AM February 19, 2016
Al Vitangcol

Al Vitangcol, former MRT general manager.
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 general manager Al Vitangcol III on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Sandiganbayan antigraft court from proceeding with the corruption cases filed against him in connection with alleged anomalies in the railway’s maintenance contracts.

Vitangcol’s lawyer Inocencio Vivero Jr. submitted to the high court a 23-page affidavit where he blamed Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas, his successor at the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Emilio A. Abaya, and two DOTC undersecretaries for the problems afflicting the MRT-3 line.

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“I am the only DOTC official charged by the Ombudsman despite the unmistakable knowledge, involvement, participation and instruction of my superiors in the DOTC headed by former Secretary Roxas, current Secretary Abaya, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla and Undersecretary Rene K. Limcaoco, who should have been the ones brought to justice for gross and inexcusable inaction, if not willful and deliberate manipulation, of the events and processes related to the maintenance of MRT-3,” Vitangcol said.

He said that Roxas’ and the other DOTC officials’ failure to “timely and properly act” on the repeated requests to look for a new service provider resulted in questionable temporary agreements.

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Vitangcol said he was made the “fall guy” by the DOTC officials.

“If there is anyone who should be accountable to the people and to the law, it is no other than former Secretary Roxas, current Secretary Abaya, Usec. Lotilla and Usec. Limcaoco, whose repeated inaction and purposeful deferment delayed the procurement of a long-term MRT-3 maintenance agreement,” he said.

Vitangcol filed the affidavit in support of his motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court’s denial of the writ of certiorari he filed against the Ombudsman’s decision to indict him for corruption and violation of procurement laws.

He also asked the high court to implead the Sandiganbayan Third Division as a respondent and to stop it from proceeding with the preliminary conference, pretrial and trial of the cases against him.

Sought for comment, Roxas declined, saying he was not aware of the allegations raised by Vitangcol against him.

“I will have to look into it first,” Roxas told reporters after addressing the national convention of private educators at Novotel hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.

But Liberal Party-led “daang matuwid” coalition spokesperson Akbayan party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez said Vitangcol’s allegations against Roxas were nothing but “squid tactics.”

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“For me, this is dubious. It’s obvious he’s only looking for a scapegoat regarding his case and he has found an easy target because we’re in the middle of a presidential campaign,” Gutierrez told reporters in a press briefing.

“The details of his case are very clear—he was occupying a post in the MRT when he entered into a maintenance contract with PH Trams without disclosing that one of its incorporators was his uncle-in-law,” he said.

Gutierrez said that if Vitangcol really had evidence against Roxas, he should present it in court since he was already on trial for graft.

“But now that he disclosed it to the media, it’s very clear it is tainted with politics and he is trying to cover up his wrongdoing by passing the blame to others,” Gutierrez said. With a report from Marlon Ramos

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TAGS: Al Vitangcol III, corruption, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, MRT maintenance, MRT mess, Sandiganbayan, Supreme Court
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