Sandiganbayan orders arrest of ex-MRT GM for extortion attempt

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division on Thursday ordered the arrest of former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) general manager Al Vitangcol in connection with the graft case filed against him for an alleged extortion attempt in a Czech company.

Aside from Vitangcol, the Sandiganbayan also ordered the arrest of his co-accused businessman Wilson De Vera for the two counts of graft case.

The Sandiganbayan ordered a PHP30,000 bail for each count of the graft case of the former MRT official and his co-accused.

In its complaint, the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) alleged that Vitangcol used De Vera in the plan to extort USD30 million from the representatives of Inekon on July 9, 2012 in exchange for the grant of contract for the supply of train coaches for the MRT-3.

The extortion attempt allegedly transpired in the house of former Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar in Forbes Park, Makati City.

The Ombudsman said that the representatives of Inekon immediately refused the extortion attempt until De Vera lowered the amount to USD2.5 million after he talked to Vitangcol on the phone.

Aside from the plan of extorting USD30 million from the representatives of the Czech company, Vitangcol allegedly pressured the businessmen to enter into a joint venture agreement, including De Vera, for the service contract of the MRT-3. Perfecto Raymundo/