By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Administration senatorial bet Francis Tolentino insisted that the previous leadership of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should be held liable for the alleged irregularities hampering the MRT operations.
During ABS-CBN’s ‘Harapan’ senatorial forum on Sunday, Tolentino stressed that past officials of the DOTr led by former Transportation Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya should face trial after various anomalous transaction the agency had entered during his stint in the agency, especially when it comes in choosing the maintenance service provider for the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 (MRT 3).
According to Tolentino, Abaya’s decision to remove Sumitomo Corporation as MRT 3’s maintenance service provider caused not only trouble to the riding public but also hampered its daily operations since many of its coaches deteriorated after shifting to a maintenance service provider without any experience in train management.
“Yung DOTr po dati siguro. Sila Abaya, yung mga dating magkakasama sila dun,” said Tolentino.
In 2018, then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales indicted in connection with anomalous Php-4.2 billion MRT 3 maintenance contract.
The Ombudsman found probable cause to indict 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 conspiring to award the contract to Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI) which is part of the Busan Joint Venture.