Court upholds ex-MRT chief's administrative liability over alleged $30M bribe try

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2017 07:21 PM

Former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III. File Photo.

MANILA - The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed findings of the Office of the Ombudsman holding former Metro Rail Transit Authority (MRTA) General Manager Al Vitangcol III administratively liable for allegedly trying to extort $30-million from a Czech company engaged in the sale of light rail vehicles.

In a 23-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Pedro Corales, the appellate court’s 8th Division denied Vitangcol's petition for review, which sought a reversal of the anti-graft office’s findings on February 12, 2016 and June 14, 2016.

The case stemmed from the awarding of the P3.7-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 expansion project contract in 2012, where Vitangcol also allegedly insisted that the firm, Inekon, enter into a joint venture agreement (JVA) for the maintenance project.

The Ombudsman found Vitangcol guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and unlawful solicitation, dismissing him from the service with perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and cancellation of eligibility.

"Atty. Vitangcol's liability for grave misconduct is… beyond doubt. His failed attempts to extort money from Inekon's representatives in exchange for the contract under Lot 1 and to forge a joint venture agreement between Inekon and a group of people that he himself proposed involve the element of corruption and constitute willful intent to violate the law," the ruling read.