Poe: Gov’t execs in MRT-LRT common station mess must be held liable
Senator Grace Poe wants government officials responsible for the long-winded delays in the construction of MRT-LRT common station to be held accountable.
“In the past, whoever has approved the previous naming rights without consultation should be held liable because that caused the delay of this project,” Poe told reporters on Monday after the hearing of the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs.
“Definitely, whoever approved that without prior consultation and bidding and just giving the naming rights—P200 million to one company—is not above the law. Somebody has to be held liable,” she said.
The senator was referring to the P200 million that the SM Prime Holdings Inc. paid to the government for the naming rights to the common station, which was initially slated to be built near SM Annex. The payment was provided for in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that the SM Prime and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) signed in 2009.
After nearly eight years, a new MOA was signed last January 18 for the construction of the common station, near Ayala’s Trinoma Mall.
READ: DOTr inks MOA for construction of LRT-MRT common station
“Dapat ibitin ng patiwarik yung dating puamsok dyan na tinali tayo dahil sa P200 million na yan. Yun talaga ng dapat nating balikan, huwag nating kalimutan yun kasi taon ang nawala dahil sa pinagagawa nila,” Poe said during the hearing.
It was Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who first questioned about the 2009 MOA, saying the P200-million payment by the SM Prime had put the government in a bind.
“Dahil naglagay sila ng P200 million, that prevented us, the government, from building anywhere in that location? E bakit naman natin tinanggap yung P200 million?” Gatchalian asked.
“How did the agency entered into a contract na tinali tayong lahat for P200 million? Ngayon kasi ang lumalabas sa dyaryo, dahil dyan sa P200 million dalawang malalaking kompanya ang nag-aaway at hindi pinapakinggan ang taumbayan. Tinali ang taumbayan sa P200 million,” he added.
Gatchalian then asked transport officials present in the hearing if there was an anomaly in the government’s decision to accept the P200 million pay from the SM Prime.
“To be candid about it po ay nire-review na po ngayon sa legal department lahat po ng mga agreement entered into kung ano pwedeng ma improve at kung ano ang pwede naming ma imbestigahan at isa po yan sa marami po naming tinitingnan,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Leah Quiambao said.
“Hindi pa po kami nasa department noon at doon din po ang katanungan sa aming isipan kung ano ang naging proseso sa pag enter into this MOA between LRTA and SM,” Quiambao said. RAM
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