MRT-3 maintenance exec skips Senate probe anew
MANILA — An incorporator of three separate firms that won bids to maintain MRT-3 since 2012 remains elusive despite efforts of the Senate to make him appear before an inquiry into the ongoing inefficiency mess at the railways.
Marlo de la Cruz was no a show again at Tuesday’s second hearing of the Senate committee on public services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.
Poe has been inviting De la Cruz — who was allegedly allied with the Liberal Party, according to Poe’s sources — to the Senate inquiry after learning that he had been among incorporators of the PH Trams, Global APT as well as the consortium Busan Universal Rail, Inc., (BURI).
All three companies won maintenance service contracts for MRT-3.
PH Trams along with CB&T won the negotiated bid to maintain and repair the MRT 3 trains in 2012 until August 2013. After PH Trams, the contract was awarded to Global APT until 2014. BURI took over Global APT until to this day.
At the first hearing last May 15, Poe said that she wanted to investigate De la Cruz on questions of how he was able to bag contracts to maintain MRT 3 trains even if his companies did not have any track record and have small capitalization.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Poe said the Office of the Sergeant of Arms failed to serve the subpoena for De la Cruz in an address that he had provided in the General Information Sheet that his company PH Trams
submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Poe said the OSAA learned the house with the address its members went to was previously registered under Wilfredo de la Cruz, brother of the elusive incorporator.
“My initial sense on this is on Marlo de la Cruz’s apparent propensity to trifle with official government rules, be it on the submission of accurate information on the GIS as required by law or on compliance and respect with the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” she said.
Poe said she got a letter from De la Cruz’s lawyer, Richard Leonard Cruz, who advised her committee “on the propriety of compelling the attendance of his client in the legislative inquiry.”
Lawyer Cruz invoked the sub judice rule in view of his client’s pending case before the Sandiganbayan on De la Cruz’s alleged culpability on the MRT maintenance anomalies.
Cruz also invoked his client’s right to protect himself from self-incrimination.
But Poe reminded Cruz that the sub judice rule would not be applicable in legislative inquiries “as the purpose of this inquiry is in aid of legislation.”
Still, she said De la Cruz could invoke such right `”only when a question propounded to him tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him” but added that the committee would still have to determine whether such right has been properly invoked.
Poe then directed the OSAA to go to Cruz’s law office, Leynes Lozada-Marquez, so they could furnish the lawyers with a copy of the subpoena and to find out the address of their client. SFM/rga