MRT-3 whistleblowers have documents to back claims: Roque

MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Thursday the two whistleblowers who alleged that officials during the Aquino administration received kickbacks from the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) contract, have documentary evidence to back their claims.

I have some documentary evidence already, Roque said in a Palace briefing, noting that he would devote one day a week to disclosing facts and details about what he called the plunder of MRT-3.

He said he got the first batch of documents Thursday but first received information about the papers some three weeks ago.

He noted that he has already submitted the documents to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and is awaiting their go signal before disclosing them to media.

I'm just giving notice to the NBI and DOJ before I go public with the documents but I promise this will be a continuing activity that we will have here and which is dissecting the plunder of MRT-3, Roque said. We will see what they (NBI and DOJ) will do with the document.

Roque was still mum on naming the whistleblowers but admitted that they were insiders who were directly involved in the MRT-3.

The nature of whistleblowers is they are always insiders. That is why they are whistleblowers, he said.

Asked if sacked MRT-3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III was one of the whistleblowers, Roque said not yet.

Hindi pa po. Matagal na naman nagsasalita si GM Vitangcol (Not yet. GM Vitangcol has long been speaking about this). Let's just say that with independent information being furnished me right now, perhaps I should go out of my way and refer GM Vitangcol also to the NBI, Roque said.

Vitangcol previously pinned down his former boss and former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Jun Abaya after the latter was spared from a graft case on the MRT-3 maintenance contract.

Parallel investigation?

Roque said the Palace is open to a possible parallel investigation of the NBI with the Office of the Ombudsman if the latter should decide to conduct one without prejudice.

That's without prejudice and we are hoping that the Ombudsman is conducting its own parallel investigation because an official complaint has already been filed, he said.

Should the Ombudsman conduct its own investigation, Roque said he is hopeful that it would be fair despite the fact that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III.

Inaasahan natin na magiging patas ang ating Ombudsman bagamat siya ay ka-alyado ng nakaraang administrasyon. (We expect the Ombudsman to be fair despite the fact that she is an ally of the previous administration), Roque said.

On Wednesday, Roque disclosed that whistleblowers have surfaced claiming that ex-DOTC officials used one-third of the amount paid for the MRT-3 maintenance contract to pay a so-called Pangasinan Group.

Ngayon lang lumalabas iyong mga whistleblower. Ngayon lang may hawak tayong whistleblower kung paano hatian. Meron pala kasing tinatawag na Pangasinan Group diyan (It is only now that the whistleblowers have surfaced. It is only now that we have whistleblowers with knowledge about how the funds were split. There is this so-called Pangasinan Group), Roque said in a radio interview.

Maniwala kayo at hindi, ang sabi ng whistleblower ay one-third daw nung total na binabayad natin para sa kontratang ito ay napupunta lang doon sa Pangasinan Group 'no (Believe it or not, the whistleblower said a total of one-third of the amount paid for the contract went to the Pangasinan Group), he said.

Tapos one-third daw ay diumano ay binabayad din sa political machinery at one-third lang talaga iyong napupunta para sa pag-maintain ng MRT-3 (And then another one-third was paid for political machinery and the remaining one-third went to the upkeep of the MRT-3), he added.

Roque noted that if the claims of the whistleblowers that only one-third of the budget was paid for the MRT-3 contract were true, it is no wonder the rail system is in bad shape.

Talaga namang kapag one-third lang sa binabayad ang ginugugol para sa MRT 3, talagang masisira iyan at magkalintik-lintik gaya ng nangyayari ngayon (If it is true that only one-third was spent for MRT-3, it is bound to get broken and have problems, like what is happening now), he said.

Roque also said that the government would pursue new cases against ex-DOTC officials, including Abaya, and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Mar Roxas II, among other officials during Aquino's term.

Source: Philippine News Agency