MANILA – The Office of the Ombudsman suspended the top officials of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) causing them to file graft charges after finding probable cause.
LRTA former Administratos Melquiades Robles, Federico Canar Jr., Dennis Francisco, Evelyn Macalino, Elmo Stephen Triste, Eduardo Abiva, Nicholas Ombao, Roger Vaño, Maynard Tolosa, and Juliet Labisto are among those who are facing the trial before the Sandiganbayan, and were also found guilty of conducting misconduct and were suspended for six months. Their suspension will be convertible to a fine of their six months salary in case of separation from service.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the officials violated Section 2(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the anomalous implementation of maintenance and janitorial contracts.
Service providers Lilia Diaz and Dennis Acorda are also facing graft charges.
In January 2009, investigation showed that LRTA entered a joint venture contract for the maintenance of trains, rails, and depot facilities of the LRT Line 1.
The joint venture contract was supposed to deploy at least 793 workers and janitors in entire LRT stations but the Field of Investigation Office found out that only 209 personnel were only deployed.
A total of P400.6 million was paid in the joint venture but “the transactions done had been processed without payrolls.”
The joint venture contract were extended until July 2013.
The Joint Venture indicated that the deviation from its minimum commitment is not justified. And the LRTA officials cannot claim that they have done their regular duty as they have given in to the demands of the private contractor.
“”Instead of pushing for the implementation of the awarded contract, the respondents agreed to the reduction of janitorial manpower,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said in an interview with The Philippine Star.