Whistleblowers claim ex-DOTC execs earned ‘kickbacks’ from MRT: Roque

MANILA Certain whistleblowers have surfaced alleging that former officials of the Aquino administration have earned kickbacks from the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) maintenance contract.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque bared this a day after he said that the government would be pursuing new cases against former officials of the now defunct Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), separate from the plunder charges filed last year.

Roque said the so-called whistleblowers would be referred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Lumapit lang po sa'kin 'yan. Ire-refer sila sa (They just approached me. They will be referred to the) NBI. Obviously, because this is a matter that will be investigated in connection with law enforcement, we cannot divulge any further details," Roque said in a briefing in Palawan.

Roque said that the whistleblowers approached him, where they claim that the former transport executives 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 Pangasinan Group diyan (It's only now that the whistleblowers surfaced. It's only now that we have whistleblowers with knowledge about how the funds were split), 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 added.

He said that according to the whistleblowers, one-third of the amount was also used as political machinery, and another one-third for the contract itself.

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 one-third was paid for political machinery and one-third went to the upkeep of the MRT-3), Roque said.

In 'bad shape'

Roque said 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 was 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 allotted for the MRT-3, it's bound to get broken and have problems like what's happening now), Roque said.

Roque earlier said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has assigned Solicitor General Jose Calida to look further into the matter.

There was a decision that cases will be pursued for those behind the miserable performance of MRT-3, Roque said.

They are pending complaints for plunder against officials of the previous administration specifically for awarding the maintenance contract to a company with absolutely no track record, he added.

Roque was referring to former officials of the now defunct DOTC including former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Mar Roxas II and DOTC Secretary Joseph Jun Abaya.

This is for the award of the contract to a company with absolutely no track record; a company that was obligated to repair 26 coaches and they only delivered 2; and they even supplied the wrong signaling system, Roque said.

In the 64-page complaint filed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) before the Office of the Ombudsman, Roxas and Abaya were accused of using the MRT-3 maintenance program as a cash cow.

The complaint alleged that Roxas and other Liberal Party stalwarts eased out Sumitomo Corp. and replaced it with their own dummy corporations.

The complaint noted that a day after Abaya replaced Roxas as DOTC chief, he awarded the PHP 517.5-million MRT maintenance contract to PH Trams-CB and T.

According to the complaint, this was the start of the rapid deterioration of MRT's trains, tracks, signaling, power supply and stations.

Source: Philippine News Agency