Alvarez warns execs blocking gov’t projects: We will impeach you
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday warned that Congress will use its power to impeach officials who would issue temporary restraining orders (TRO) on government projects.
Alvarez made this warning during a hearing of the committee on transportation at the House of Representatives tackling the planned construction of the common station linking the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) and Light Rail Transit (LRT-1).
“Itayo nyo na yang terminal na yan, kesehoda yung mga TRO diyan, gawin nyo na yan. Pera ng gobyerno yan, project ng gobyerno yan bakit iti-TRO? O gawin nyo yan,” Alvarez said.
(Build that terminal ready. That’s government money, that’s a project by the government. Why would a TRO be issued?)
“Subukan nilang i-TRO di i-impeach natin. Hindi ako nagbibiro dito,” he added.
(Let them try to issue a TRO on the project. We will impeach them. I’m not joking.)
Alvarez said Congress will not shy from its duty to impeach officials who would issue a TRO on government projects such as the planned common station.
He did not name who these officials are, but according to Republic Act 8975, only the Supreme Court can issue temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government on the following – right of way or acquisition, bidding or awarding of contract, and commencement or termination of projects.
Meanwhile, under the 1987 Constitution, the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be impeached from office for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.
The House of Representatives is mandated to initiate impeachment proceedings.
“Eh, gobyerno naman ang gagastos diyan, project ng gobyerno, anong ikinatatakot nila? Di ho ba? Ngayon pag merong mag-file ng TRO, aba at pag may nag-issue ng TRO ay hindi tama yun, di ba? Sobra, abuso na rin sa poder yan. So Congress will not hesitate na gawin din yung trabaho namin,” Alvarez said.
(It’s the government which would spend the money, it’s the government’s project. What are they afraid of? Now if there is a TRO issued, that’s not right. That is an abuse of power. Congress will not hesitate from doing its duty.)
Alvarez urged officials to pursue the original plan for the common station in 2009 near SM North, noting that the site was more convenient because the riding public goes down a public terminal there.
Alvarez earlier said that while the planned common station somewhere between Trinoma and SM North would cost government P2.8 billion, the location near SM North would cost only P500 million, because SM would pay as much as P280 million naming rights.
The common station will connect three urban transit lines: the Light Rail Transit Line 1, the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT-3), and the MRT-7, which recently broke ground and would run from the Common Station to Bulacan via Commonwealth Avenue.
The Department of Transportation is expected to spend P2.8 billion in taxpayers’ money to build the portion that will house the platform and concourse of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and MRT 3.
Construction is set to kick off at the end of 2017 and completion is eyed in April 2019.
The construction of the common station had been delayed due to much legal tussles.
In 2014, the government had wanted the common station to be built near Trinoma because it would be cheaper at P1.4 billion.
This prompted the SM Prime Holdings to seek an injunction from the Supreme Court to oppose the transfer for violating a 2009 memorandum of agreement with LRT-A that the common station should be constructed in front of the SM North Edsa.
This year, the stakeholders finally agreed to make the common station in between SM North Edsa and Trinoma.