9 Aquino cabinet men charged over MRT-3 maintenance deal

MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday filed plunder charges against nine cabinet members of former president Benigno S. Aquino III before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous contract for the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Named as respondents in the plunder complaints were former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Roxas served as DOTC secretary prior to his appointment as DILG secretary.

Also charged were former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Florencio Abad, former Department of Finance (DOF) secretary Cesar Purisima, former Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Jericho Petilla, former Department of Science and Technology (DOST) secretary Mario Montejo, former Department of National Defense (DND) secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Rogelio Singson, and former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

DOTr also named former DOTC undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Gonzales as respondents.

A certain Marlo dela Cruz, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members, and officials of the former MRT-3 maintenance contractor, the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) were also included in the complaint.

This was the third complaint lodged against Abaya before the Ombudsman in connection with the BURI maintenance contract for MRT-3.

The DOTC terminated BURI’s contract last November 6. PNA-northboundasia.com