DOTr lawyers deny politics behind raps vs Aquino men on MRT deal
President Rodrigo Duterte had prior knowledge of the plunder complaint filed against the former Cabinet members of then President Benigno Aquino III over the Metro Rail Transit’s (MRT-3) alleged anomalous maintenance deal.
This was revealed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) lawyers who filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday against former Transportation Secretaries Mar Roxas and Jun Abaya, and other former government officials.
But Reinier Yebra, DOTr undersecretary for legal affairs and procurement, denied that the case filed was politically motivated.
“Regardless of who were in the past administration, if we believe that they should be accountable, we will file the complaint,” Yebra told reporters.
Another DOTr lawyer, assistant secretary Giovanni Lopez, explained that they would not deem the case as politically motivated as it included current DOTr officials.
The lawyers also dismissed comments that the filing was a mere case of finger-pointing. “We studied the case thoroughly,” Lopez said in Filipino.
He said they have sufficient evidence to prove that Aquino’s men conspired to pocket public funds through the DOTr’s maintenance deal for the MRT, which is now being hounded with several technical problems.
The DOTr representatives filed cases against the respondents for violation of section 2 of the anti-plunder act, section 3 of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, and section 10 of the government procurement act.
Apart from Roxas and Abaya, the DOTr complaint named as respondents majority of the Aquino administration’s cabinet men: former Budget Secretary Butch Abad, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, former Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and former National Economic Development Authority chief Arsenio Balisacan.
The DOTr, likewise, included in their complaint sheet former MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe; former Transportation Undersecretaries Rene Limcaoco, Catherine Gonzales, and Edwin Lopez; former Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) officials; and officials of Buri; and a certain Marlo Dela Cruz. /jpv