Ombudsman vows to act swiftly on raps over MRT mess

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 22 2017 04:27 PM

 MANILA - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Wednesday her office would act swiftly on charges filed against top officials of the Aquino administration over the ill-maintained Metro Rail Transit-3 before her term ends next year. That is, unless she gets ousted.

Morales, who is set to step down in July 2018, said she has yet to see the complaint but added that she would readily act on the charges. 

“Oo naman... Aaksiyonan naman natin kaagad. Hindi naman puwedeng hintayin ang July bago aksiyonan. I am supposed to retire next year unless I get impeached and convicted,” Morales told reporters following a speaking engagement at the University of Santo Tomas.

(Yes, we will act on it immediately. We cannot wait until July before we act on it.)

The 7-year term of Morales, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, is set to expire next year. The fiesty anti-graft chief has faced criticism from President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier accused her of selective justice and corruption. 

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier said an impeachment complaint against Morales has been prepared. 

On Tuesday, several officials of the Aquino administration were slapped with plunder and graft complaints for allegedly rigging procurement contracts of the MRT in favor of Busan Universal Rail Inc (BURI).

Among those impleaded were former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Budget Secretary Florentino Abad.

The MRT, which runs the stretch of EDSA and ferries over 500,000 people a day, has repeatedly been criticized over numerous glitches.

Just last week, an MRT coach detached from the train between the Ayala and Buendia stations, forcing commuters to walk on the tracks.

The President on Saturday apologized for the inconvenience caused by the incident, which occurred about a week after the government terminated the maintenance contract of BURI and took over the railway's upkeep.