MANILA -- Economist and television show host Solita Collas-Monsod once again came to the defense anew of recently sacked Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 general manager Al Vitangcol III, saying someone is out to ruin him.
“Al Vitangcol is not guilty of all those things. He’s a good manager. He did a good job with the MRT. He even saved almost a billion for the government.” Monsod said in an interview with radio dzMM.
She said it’s obvious who wants him out. “He was able to generate savings… There are those who lost their criminal businesses,” she said.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya decided to sack Vitangcol last week due to his alleged failure to disclose his ties with Arturo Soriano, an incorporator of the firm that bagged a P517.5-million maintenance contract. Soriano is the uncle of Vitangcol’s wife.
Monsod noted that the DOTC immediately relieved Vitangcol on the day Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc came out with the story. “He was not even given the chance to give his side,” she said.
Furthermore, Monsod does not see any conflict of interest in the awarding of the contract since Soriano already divested his shares in PH Trams even before a proposal was sent to the Department of Transportation and Communications.
She also noted that PH Trams was only a junior partner of a joint venture with CB&T Philippines.
She defended the negotiated procurement of the contract, saying an “emergency situation” already called for it. She noted that the DOTC should be blamed for knowing only on October 4, 2012 that it is its responsibility to procure a new maintenance agreement.
The original maintenance contract was due to expire a few days after or on October 19 and the DOTC had only two weeks to constitute a negotiating committee and award a contract, she said.
Vitangcol was also only one of the members of the committee, which was composed mostly of DOTC officials, Monsod pointed out.
“What really happened to the contract? Was it disadvantageous to the government? In fact, they had a lot of savings,” she said.
Monsod has come to the defense of Vitangcol several times, but stressed that they are not close friends. “When I interviewed him, I was just impressed… You have to look at this man’s qualifications. He’s a lawyer, a civil engineer, an IT expert. He gave it all up to serve the government,” she said.