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Abswelto! Ombudsman clears Mar, Abad of liability in P4.2B MRT maintenance deal

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By John Carlo Cahinhinan

MANILA – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has cleared former Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Secretary Butch Abad of any liability in connection with anomalous Php 4.2-billion maintenance contract of the Metro Rail Transit – Line 3 (MRT3).

In a resolution released Monday, Morales dismissed the administrative charges filed against Roxas, Abad, and six other former cabinet officials of the previous Aquino Administration due to “lack of probable cause.”

Aside from Roxas and Abad, the other former officials who were cleared by the Ombudsman were former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, former Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, former Defense Secretary Volitaire Gazmin, former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan.

The officials were members of the Government Procurement Policy Board of the Aquino administration.

Morales has ordered the indictment of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and 16 others for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) for awarding the maintenance contract to Busan Joint Venture despite being “not technically, legally and financially capable.”

Abaya and several other ex-officials of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) were accused of giving “extended unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference” when they awarded the maintenance contract to the Busan Joint Venture and its parent company Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI) despite being “an ineligible and unqualified entity. “