MANILA — Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Friday said he will not take a leave of absence amid controversy regarding the alleged “anomalous maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.”
Abaya, at the sidelines of a Friday budget hearing at the House of Representatives, said he will follow the instructions of President Benigno S. Aquino III who previously said that his trust and confidence in the DOTC chief remains.
The DOTC chief explained that if he took a leave, problems would ensue and it would be “a disservice to the people.”
He, however, stressed that if President Aquino would want him to step down, he is willing to do so.
To recall, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered a preliminary investigation against him, former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 administrator Al Vitangcol and 19 others on the said case.
Aside from Abaya and Vitangcol, also under investigation are DOTC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members, namely: Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, Undersecretary Rafael Antonio Santos, Assistant Secretary Ildefonso Patdu, Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, and LRTA Administrator Honorito Chaneco; members of the Negotiating Team, namely: Misael Narca, Engr. Joel Magbanua, Arnel Manresa, Natividad Sansolis, Engr. Gina Rodriguez, Eugene Cecilio, Engr. Raphael Lavides, Atty. Geronimo Quintos; and representatives from the joint venture of the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation-Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corporation (PH Trams – CB&T) Wilson De Vera, Arturo Soriano, Marlo Dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit and Federico Remo.
Abaya had earlier said that he was willing to cooperate with the probe of Ombudsman saying he did not have any reason to fear investigation since he had “nothing to hide.”
He also said that the DOTC remains “committed to transparency and the eradication of corruption in government.”
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a Palace media briefing Friday, said that although taking a leave was a personal decision on Abaya’s part, Malacanang will not ask him to go on leave or resign anytime soon.