Trader sues Czech diplomat, PDI for libel

by Dharel Placido,

Posted at Apr 09 2014 06:17 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2014 02:17 AM

MANILA – A businessman on Wednesday said he has filed a P30 million libel suit against Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar and the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI).

Roehl Bacar, CEO of Comm Builders and Technology Philippines (CB&T), told dzMM that he finds libelous a recent PDI report which quoted Rychtar as saying that CB&T bagged a 6-month contract to maintain the Metro Rail Transit (MRT 3) in October 2012 because of his connections with influential government figures.

The maintenance contract was a joint venture between CB&T and PH Trams. The contract was transferred to the two firms after the contract of Sumitomo expired.

In the report published last April 5, Rychtar said he was told by Manalo Maralit, a certain ''Boyet Bacar'' and ''Mr. P. Rodriguez'' that the joint venture was ''backed by the highest DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) officials and some politicians."

"Dahil po to sa isinulat ng PDI last Saturday na ako raw po ay may kakilalang mga matataas na posisyon sa gobyerno… na ako po ay nakakakuha ng proyekto dahil sa impluwensya,'' Bacar said.

''Napag-iisipan ako na hindi base sa specialization, sa experience ng kumpanya, at ako lang po ay nakakauha ng trabaho dahil sa impluwensya,'' he added.

Bacar said the biggest proof that he is not backed by influential people is his firm's failure to renew the contract due to lack of certain documents.

''Sa katunayan, nung nag-bidding, nung ni-rebid ang contract na six months temporary maintenance contract, ako po ay na-disqualify. Mayroon akong hindi na-comply na certificate na dapat ay magmumula sa LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority), na under ng DOTC,'' he said.

Bacar said he asked the government to reconsider his firm's renewal of contract, but this was also denied.

Rychtar is currently embroiled in a controversy involving the P3.8-billion MRT expansion project.

The diplomat accused MRT general manager Al Vitangcol of extorting $30 million from Czech train car builder Inekon Group in exchange for the awarding of the expansion project.

The 48-train expansion project was eventually awarded to CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. of China.