Head scratcher: Grace Poe says Ombudsman Morales should explain why she didn’t charge Jun Abaya in MRT service corruption scandal
Senator Grace Poe said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales should explain why she left out former Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya MRT from the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) maintenance contract mess she filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Poe said she was puzzled why former MRT-3 General Manager Al Vitangcol was the only transport official charged by Morales for entering into a scandal-tainted maintenance contract with PH Trams and CB&T for MRT-3 when the contract had been given the green light by Abaya.
“Alam mo mataas ang aking pag galang kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales kaya nga ako’y nagtataka lamang ano ba ang naging legal na dahilan kung bakit yung kalihim hindi kasama,” said Poe in an interview with DZBB’s Nimfa Ravelo.
“Sa complain ni Al Vitangcol bakit hindi naisama si Secretary Abaya? E siya naman talaga ang pumirma sa mga kontrata na iyon. Hindi iyan maapruba hangga’t hindi pumapayag ang Secretary so may kakulangan talaga dito. Pasensya na. Baka naman pwede natin makausap ang Ombudsman,” she added.
Poe planned to invite both Vitangcol and Abaya in a May 23 hearing of the Senate committee on public services which she chaired.
“Alam ko may anomalya na talaga dito. Noong naglabas ang Ombudsman ng desisyon tungkol sa mga aberya, hindi isinama dito ang namumuno na kalihim. Nagtataka naman ako kasi ahensya ito, hindi naman ito buong gobyerno ng Pilipnas so talagang dapat kahit pano merong pagbabanggit sa kapabayaan ng namuno noon sa DOTC,” she said.
Last June 2015, Morales ordered the filing of graft charges against Vitangcol and officers and incorporators of PH Trams and CB&T which took over the maintenance of MRT-3 without a bidding. This service contract started the steady decline in the performance of the MRT 3 which has worsened through the current administration under Transportation Secretary Art Tugade.
June 26, 2015, the Ombudsman ordered that graft charges be filed against Vitangcol, Soriano, Dela Cruz, Wilson De Vera, Manolo Maralit, and Federico Remo.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Vitangcol said: “I am the only DOTC official charged by the Ombudsman despite the unmistakable knowledge, involvement, participation and instruction of my superiors in the DOTC headed by former Sec. Manuel ‘Mar’ A. Roxas II, current Secretary Joseph Emilio ‘Jun’ A. Abaya, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla and Undersecretary Rene K. Limcaoco, who should have been the ones brought to justice for gross and inexcusable inaction if not willful and deliberate manipulation of the events and processes related to the maintenance of MRT.”