MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday filed before the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) 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.
Also included in the complaint was the Busan Universal Rails, Inc. (BURI), the maintenance contractor of the MRT-3.
In a 29-page complaint, DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra cited four components of the MRT-3 project of the case which are: maintenance of the MRT-3 Systems; general overhauling of 43 units of light rail vehicles (LRVs); total replacement of the signaling system; and additional maintenance works.
Yebra said the DOTr finds it anomalous that while the joint venture of Busan (Busan JV) was the one who participated in and won the bidding, the entity doing the actual maintenance works of the MRT-3, and receiving payments, therefore, is BURI, which is a totally different entity.
“We want to know the truth. We find it anomalous that the project was awarded to Busan JV, but the one receiving payments and doing MRT-3 maintenance works is BURI, a totally different entity,” Yebra said.
The Notice of Award was issued to Busan JV on Dec. 23, 2015, he said. However, on the same day, former DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Camille Alcaraz requested the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to facilitate the registration of a Special Purpose Company consisting of the members of the Busan JV for the Contract Award of the Project. BURI was later on incorporated on 04 January 2016.
“It shows that the respondents conspired and confederated with one another to enter into a contract that is grossly disadvantageous to the government,” he said.
“At the end of the day, our concern goes to our commuters. We can hear and feel their pleas. That is why the DOTr, through the leadership of Secretary Tugade, will do everything to serve the public with the truth and justice that they deserve,” he added.
Last October 17, the DOTr served a Notice to Terminate its contract with BURI.