Ombudsman indicted ex-DOTC chief Abaya, 16 others over P4.2-B MRT maintenance mess - The Daily Sentry

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ombudsman indicted ex-DOTC chief Abaya, 16 others over P4.2-B MRT maintenance mess

 Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya | CTTO

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has indicted former Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya for graft over the anomalous P4.2 billion worth of Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) maintenance contract awarded to Busan Universal Rail Incorporated (BURI).

The Ombudsman will charged the respondents for violation of section 3(e) of the Republic Act. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice.

The other 16 individuals are DOTr Undersecretaries Edwin Lopez; Rene Limcaoco, head of the Negotiating Team; and Catherine Jennifer Francis Gonzales, the vice head of the Negotiating Team.

Also facing the charges, MRT3 General Manager Roman Buenafe; Camille Alcaraz, Assistant Secretary for Procurement; Ofelia Astrera, Vice Chairperson, MRT3 Bids and Awards Committee; Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia, Attorney V; Oscar Bongon, Chief of the Engineering Division; and Jose Rodante Sabayle, Engineer III were also included in the indictment.

 Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya | Mar Roxas | CTTO

Private respondents will likewise be charged, Eldonn Ferdinand Uy of Edison Development and Construction, Elizabeth Velasco of Tramat Mercantile Incorporated, Belinda Tan of TMI Corporation Inc., Brian Velasco of Castan Corporation, and Antonio Borromeo, Jun Ho Hwang and Elpidio Uy from Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI).

The Ombudsman stressed that Busan JV was not technically, legally and financially capable to undertake the MRT3 long term maintenance contract.

"There is a given authority and responsibility to Abaya as DOTr Secretary to regulate the acts of the DOTr officials responsible for the procurement of the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract and he cannot simply evade such responsibility by invoking reliance on his subordinates, especially considering that the subject contract is one with a scope and magnitude affecting a big portion of the commuting public in Metro Manila, with an accompanying financial impact on the coffers of the government amounting to more than P4billion,”

Long queue in MRT | CTTO

Long queue in MRT | CTTO

The Ombudsman’s Special Panel of Investigators discovered that in October 2014 and January 2015, the Transportation Department conducted two bidding for the system's three-year maintenance service contract for the MRT3 but were considered as a failure due to non submission of bids.

Abaya took action on January 28, 2015 and issued a Special Order creating the MRT3 Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for the procurement of goods, infrastructure projects and consulting services of the MRT3 system.

Long queue in MRT | CTTO

MRT riders walk after train failure | CTTO

While last October due to persistent failure of ensuring the availability of contractually obligated number of trains nad in placing reliable and efficient trains the Department of Transportation (DOTr) terminated the contract with BURI.

The Commission on Audit (COA) stated in its Consolidated Annual Audit Report that the DOTr has a mjor lapses “DOTr still failed to provide the riding public with a safe and comfortable transport system even with the procurement and delivery from August 2015 to January 2017 of 48 new LRVs with a total cost of P3.76 billion, unfortunately not even a single car has yet to be utilized.

“Despite four years in the procurement process and total payments of P527,761,083 (equivalent to 14 percent of the contract price) to Dalian, the LRVs remain inoperational and unaccepted by the DOTr as of reporting date due to glitches in the power supply and signaling system. These resulted from the DOTr’s poor planning and other major procurement lapses,”

Morales dropped the plunder complaint filed against Abaya due to lack of probable cause and other cabinet members of former Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III were also cleared that includes former interior Secretary Manual Roxas, former Budget secretary Butch Abad, former Finance secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy secretary Jericho Petilla, former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, former Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, and former National Economic Development Authority chief Arsenio Balisacan as members of the Government Procurement Policy Board.


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Source: GMA News