Ex-DOTC chief Abaya not off the hook yet –Poe

MANILA-- Former transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya will still have to answer to several issues hounding the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), Sen. Grace Poe said, determined to invite him to attend a Senate probe into the new train coaches which remained unusable.

Si Secretary Abaya, so siyempre kailangan kong ipatawag (Sec. Abaya, of course I will need to invite him), Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services said in a radio interview.

Marami pong mga panga-pangalan diyan pero siyempre ang kalihim mismo ay hindi dapat makalusot. (There are many other names to mention, but the chief himself cannot get off the hook), she added.

Poe said that the former transport secretary does not deserve to have rest because he still needed plenty of explaining to do.

She said that although the Senate had no power to order Abaya's detention, it had the power to recommend.

Hindi naman namin pwedeng sabihin na, 'o, ipakulong iyan.' Pero, puwede kaming magrekomenda (We can't say 'o, put him to jail.' But, we can recommend,) she further said.

The senator said that he could face graft or plunder charges.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the department is currently evaluating the new 48 train coaches purchased under the previous administration from the Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. of China for the MRT-3.

The 48 LRVs were procured by the former administration for Php 3.8 billion as part of the MRT-3 capacity expansion project of Abaya.

However, Tugade said that the new coaches remained unusable because it had no signaling system device, which maintains safe distances between trains and controls its speed.

Poe said that the new coaches being unusable was a waste of money. However, she said that she agreed with Tugade that the agency should not insist on using them to ensure the safety of passengers.

The senator is set to file a resolution calling for a probe into the MRT-3 problems when the Senate resumes regular sessions on May 2.

Source: Philippine News Agency