Transport dept under Abaya liable for MRT woes: Tolentino

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2019 08:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2019 08:39 PM

Senatorial aspirant Francis Tolentino says Former transportation chief Joseph Emilio Abaya should be held liable for MRT woes. File

MANILA- Former transportation chief Joseph Emilio Abaya and his men should be held liable for problems hounding the MRT-3, senatorial aspirant Francis Tolentino said Sunday.

Asked during "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate" on who should be held liable for the MRT mess, Tolentino said: "Yung DOTr (Department of Transportation) po dati siguro."

"Si Abaya, yung mga dating magkakasama sila dun," he added.

Tolentino was referring to former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's transportation chief Joseph Emilio Abaya, who was slapped with graft charges over the P4 billion maintenance and overhauling contract for the MRT.

The MRT3, which ferries some half a million people on a daily basis, has been prone to glitches and train breakdowns in recent years.

The transportation department under Abaya came under fire for the train line's maintenance and overhauling contract that was awarded to the Filipino-Korean consortium, Busan Joint Venture.

Busan was "not technically, legally and financially capable to undertake the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract," according to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Busan's contract was terminated by the current Department of Transportation, which also filed plunder and graft charges against former Aquino administration officials.

Tolentino was once an ally of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party, but a controversy during the oath-taking of new LP members prior to the 2016 elections caused the then-ruling party to distance itself from him.

After losing in the 2016 polls, Tolentino took on the job as President Rodrigo Duterte’s political adviser until he renewed his bid for a Senate seat last year.

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