MANILA (UPDATED) — Former and current officials of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) are facing criminal and administrative complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman over alleged anomalous maintenance contracts for the propulsion and monitoring system of train sets.
In the complaint filed by lawyer Gerry Francisco which was received by the Office of the Ombudsman on May 25, 2023, the officials were accused of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The LRTA officials are also facing complaints of grave misconduct, gross incompetence, gross neglect of duty, and serious dishonesty.
Included in the complaints are current LRTA Administrator Hernando Cabrera, former LRTA Administrator and now Philippine National Railways General Manager Jeremy Regino, as well as Santos Abrazado, Paul Chua, Jose Jobel Belarmino, Federico Canar, Cesar Legaspi, Hilfred Tusing, and Aylvinston Pillos.
Also included are private individuals who are representatives of LRTA contractors Multiscan, Brownsteel and Worldleaders, namely Yollee Ong-Ramos, Joseph Ramos, Ma. Grazia Lee, and two Korean nationals of Woo Jin corporation.
Franciso stated in the complaint that the public respondents conspired with private respondents by inducing each other using “imaginary scenarios” for upgrade works as well as unlawful grounds to favor private respondents Ramoses to defraud the government.
He said the maintenance work would involve the dismantling of train monitoring equipment and train propulsion systems from good and running LRT2 train sets.
He claimed that lost revenue for the installation and testing through trial and error was estimated at P274 million for 301 days.
Francisco noted that the maintenance cost of the propulsion and train monitoring system of 10 train sets under the Ramoses’ contract was P223 million, while for the three train sets under Multi Scan and Woo Jin Korea amounts to P220 million.
"I was prompted to lodge the complaint based on information through incriminating documents that I received from anonymous LRT employees. These documents show conspiracy among the LRT respondents that gave undue benefits to respondent Ramoses that clearly violated the procurement law," Francisco said in a statement.
Francisco asked the Ombudsman to put all public respondents under preventive suspension for six months.
Asked for comment, Cabrera said they have yet to receive a copy of the complaint.
Regino meantime questioned the motive for the filing of the complaint.
"The complaint against me, if well-intentioned and done in good faith, is a total surprise because at the time the alleged contract on train propulsion was signed, I was not in any way connected to the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), nor did I have any iota of participation in it," Regino said in a statement.
"I therefore reserve my right to take legal actions at the proper time and against the authors and instigators of the malicious complaint so that anyone does not irresponsibly file a case just like that, without considering his accountabilities and possible liabilities," he added.