Poe welcomes filing of charges against ex-DOTC chief, others

MANILA — Senator Grace Poe on Monday welcomed the move of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to file graft charges against former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) officials in connection with the alleged anomaly at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Charged were former DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Jennifer Gonzales, as well as former MRT general manager Roman Buenafe.

Busan Universal Rails, Inc. (BURI), the maintenance contractor of the MRT-3, was also included in the complaint.

“It is high time that the ax falls where it should. The complaint filed against former Secretary Abaya and other officials over the PHP 3.81-billion MRT maintenance contract rests on solid grounds,” Poe said in a statement.

Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said that the Senate investigation on the issue proved that the award to BURI was “anomalous.”

She, meanwhile, expressed hope that the Ombudsman would find probable cause and file the appropriate charges with the Sandiganbayan.

“This should deliver a stern warning and reminder that public officials past and present will have to be made accountable for their misfeasance and malfeasance in office in due time,” she added.

The senator said that it is also another opportunity for the Ombudsman to show its independence and resolve to fight corruption in all levels, regardless of political affiliations.

She said the Ombudsman should also investigate those involved in the awarding of the contract if they were working at the behest of other personalities.

Poe stressed that BURI has shown its “incompetence” to handle the contract by having a record of poor safety checks.

She further said that the actions of the DOTC officials had cost time away from Filipino families who rely on the MRT.

“This should not have happened if Secretary Abaya and his men exercised due diligence in checking whether or not BURI was capable of handling such a huge responsibility and in ensuring the safety of the public. These deplorable acts should therefore not be countenanced nor tolerated,” Poe said. PNA-northboundasia.com