MANILA— Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday agreed with the Department of Transportation’s statement pointing to sabotage as the reason behind the detachment of a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) coach at the Ayala Station last November 16.
Aguirre has earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on the matter following a request from the DOTr.
“Tuloy yung angle ng sabotage for the NBI kasi mukhang meron basehan kasi sinasabi doon na mahirap mangyari yung makakalas yung dalawang coach kasi makikita naman natin na kahit naderail ang tren kahit tumumba na yan, magkakabit pa rin. Kaya kung talagang walang human intervention, it’s really very hard na mangyari yun.(We are still looking at the sabotage angle as it is impossible to be cut or chopped off even if the train is derailed. If there is no human intervention, it’s very really hard to happen),’ Aguirre told reporters on the sidelines of the 81st founding anniversary of the NBI.
“But of course, pwede mangyari but definitely ang NBI ay nakikita na ‘yung angle ng sabotage ay mayroong basehan (It may happen, the NBI has a basis that there is possible sabotage angle),” he added..
For his part, NBI Director Dante Gierran said they have already assigned a team of investigators to look into the incident.
Asked if there is timeline, Gierran said that “we have to make a timeline for ourselves kasi kung walang timeline eh anong klaseng trabaho yan (if there is no timeline, what kind of work is that) and we have to make it fast.”
He added this is a general investigation and he cannot comment on a matter which is not yet a fact.
“We have to establish a fact before we comment kasi pag may nakuha tayong ebidensya (once we get evidence) of course we have to file it and only then will I make a comment,” he explained.
Initial results of the investigation being conducted by the MRT management show there was no electrical fault or mechanical failure in the detached coupler of the train coach.
“It is impossible that the coupler will be detached if there is no human intervention,” MRT-3 Safety Chief Technician Ruel Jose said.
It was also found that the Messma card, which functions like a black box that records all applied interventions of the decoupled Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) # 68, the third car in Train No. 5, was missing.
“We ask: What is the motive? Who has the capability of removing the black box? Was this an attempt to cover up a mistake on the operation of Train No. 5? Or was there an effort to sabotage the entire operation? These questions are being addressed right now through proper and scrupulous investigation,” DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said.
The DOTr also assured the riding public that it will address the safety issues of the MRT system.
It said MRT operations will continue amid calls for its temporary shutdown to fix its repeated glitches, and noted that it has been considering the proposal since the first quarter of the year.
“MRT operations will still continue as our technical team pursues efforts to address the safety of the passengers. We are still considering the option of temporarily suspending operations if necessary,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Around 140 passengers were unloaded and were forced to walk through from Ayala to Buendia station after a train car was detached from its body while on a northbound trip.