MANILA — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday questioned the competence of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) general manager Rodolfo Jazmines Garcia as recurring glitches plague the crumbling train system.
Garcia came under scrutiny during the joint hearing of the House committee on transportation and committee on public works and highways, which dealt with railway safety and related issues.
Alvarez said Garcia, a retired police general, had no real experience in the operations and maintenance of a train system, stressing his failure to solve the MRT-3 woes even after a year since he took over.
“Nilagay ka dyan para ayusin mo yung problema. Ngayon yung experience mo pala member ka lang ng board. Wala ka naming experience sa operation (You were appointed there to fix the problem. Now, your experience is being a member of the board, but you don’t have any experience in operation),” Alvarez said.
“Mahigit isang taon na po tayo dyan at wala pa rin nangyayari (You’ve been sitting in the post for more than a year and yet nothing has happened),” he said.
Alvarez also berated Garcia for claiming that his only mandate was to make sure that the MRT trains were running.
Alvarez said the real mandate of a train manager was to ensure the convenience and safety of passengers, as well as the cleanliness of the trains.
The tension further grew when Garcia said they would consider using the Dalian coaches to increase the present number of MRT-3 coaches.
Alvarez stressed that the Dalian coaches were not compatible with the signaling system of the current trains.
In response, Garcia said, “I will resign kung hindi ako sigurado (if I’m not sure)”.
Garcia, later on, apologized after lawmakers threatened to cite him for contempt for not according proper respect to the Speaker and the committee.
In an ambush interview following the hearing, Alvarez stressed the need for a competent person who could fix the problems of the MRT-3 system considering the continuing woes commuters suffer from the said system.
“Exhausted na rin yung taong bayan. Kailangan na talagang ayusin yan. We need a person na talagang yung aayos ng problema (The public is exhausted. We really need to fix that. We need a person who can really address the problem.),” Alvarez said.