Roxas hit over MRT deal

THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay lashed out at Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for using his present position for personal political aggrandizement.

Vice President’s spokesperson for political affairs Atty. Rico Quicho described Roxas’ action as being borne of desperation to cover his fault, particularly over the Metro Rail Transit.

“After five years, the MRT is not just slow, it’s slower. And it is not only weak, it’s a public hazard and a certified rolling coffin for the thousands of passengers. And all because of corruption and inefficiency involving Secretary Roxas’ appointees and the Liberal Party,” Quicho said.

Quicho said that the downhill slide of the MRT started under Roxas’ watch at the DOTC, which he cannot simply deny.

“Unfortunately, despite Secretary Roxas’ failures in the DOTC,  he got away with it and was even given the DILG, which he now uses for personal political aggrandizement,” he said

“This again illustrates the governance that rewards insensitivity and bungling at the expense of the people,” he added.

But Roxas chose not to comment on Quicho’s charges that he was one of the decision makers on the MRT maintenance contract that has been tagged as the root of the train system’ current problems.

“No comment,” Roxas said in Lanao del Norte after distributing vehicles to the provincial police command on Saturday. “They don’t say anything good about the government anyway so that’s fine.”

”It’s the Ombudsman’s decision, not mine,” Roxas said when asked to comment on critics implicating him in an allegedly anomalous Metro Rail Transit (MRT) maintenance contract.

Roxas said it was the Ombudsman’s decision not to charge him or current Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for the controversial $11.5-million maintenance contract between the DOTC and Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams).

Without public bidding, PH Trams, a company of former MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol’s uncle-in-law, bagged the maintenance contract in October 2012. The contract was awarded to the company two days later.

“If the Ombudsman is saying that Abaya was new to the DOTC and therefore did not know that the contract was anomalous, why not investigate Mar Roxas who was DOTC secretary when the contract was negotiated? Is it only mere coincidence that several of Vitangcol’s coaccused have links to the Liberal Party headed by Roxas and Abaya?” Bayan said.

Before he was appointed head of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Roxas was the DOTC secretary in 2011.

“I’m not exactly clear of what happened after I had left but ang masasabi ko, it was Sumitomo who was the service provider. Iyon ang nadatnan ko at patuloy na kino-continue lang ‘yon noong nandoon ako,” Roxas said. Sumitomo Corp. was the Japanese firm that used to provide maintenance to MRT coaches.

Apart from Bayan, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp said the “(downhill) slide” of the MRT 3 started during Roxas’ tenure as transportation secretary.

Lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesperson for political affairs, said it was because of Roxas’ “inefficiency and corruption” that commuters riding the MRT 3 were suffering.

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