MANILA - A former lawmaker has asked the Supreme Court to urgently halt the release of funds for a firetruck procurement deal that the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III signed last year with an Austrian firm.
Former ABAKADA party-list Representative Jonathan Dela Cruz on Monday urged the High Court to expedite its resolution of his plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary
injunction (WPI) against the release of P3.07-billion in funds for supply contracts the Aquino administration had signed with Austrian firm Rosenbauer International Aktiengesellschaft.
In his plea, Dela Cruz cited President Rodrigo Duterte's recent firing of Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno “for undermining and jeopardizing the best interest of the Republic of the Philippines, which stands to lose and waste billions of pesos in its coffers.”
Sueno was fired for pushing ahead with the transaction despite questions surrounding the deal, meant to procure new firetrucks for the Bureau of Fire Protection.
As Interior Secretary, Sueno was known to have traveled to Austria in January to meet with Rosenbauer officials.
He then reportedly proceeded to implement and make the payment “despite full and unmitigated knowledge” of the pendency of a case before the Supreme Court questioning the contract, and an Oct. 26, 2016 legal opinion from his department.
Dela Cruz urged the high court to immediately issue the restraining and injunctive orders.