'Surprised' Tugade denies hand in rail undersecretary's resignation


Posted at Nov 23 2017 03:19 PM

MANILA - Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade denied Thursday that he ordered undersecretary for rail Cesar Chavez to quit his post over the mess surrounding the MRT. 

"For the record, and contrary to the insinuations of others, I did not cause or ask Usec. Cesar Chavez to resign. He has my full trust and confidence,” Tugade said in a text message to reporters. 

Tugade said he was "surprised" by the resignation because he and Chavez had been drawing plans up until Wednesday. 

Chavez, in tendering his irrevocable resignation, took responsibility for recent mishaps wherein a woman's arm was severed in a freak accident and 2 train cars detached from each other, forcing commuters to walk on the tracks. 

Chavez's resignation comes weeks after government took over the upkeep of the MRT and terminated the maintenance contract of Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI), which has been blamed for chronic glitches at the capital's main railway. 

Chavez said the past leadership's decision to renew limit the term of maintenance contracts to 6 months at a time prevented the contractor from buying "capital spares" such as air-conditioners, bogey frames and fraction motors.