Past government destroyed MRT, Palace tells Leni

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2017 11:33 AM

Photo by Ivan Villegas

MANILA - Malacañang on Friday told Vice President Leni Robredo that the government is not covering up its shortcomings in managing the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3), which in recent weeks has been hit by technical glitches including the decoupling of trains.

"The Administration has faced the MRT-3 mess squarely. The President has even apologized over a recent train mishap and transport officials admitted that while they cannot solve the problems overnight they are working double time to restore the convenience and reliability of the MRT-3 by getting a proven maintenance firm and buying needed parts," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

"However, we cannot deny the fact that these are cumulative problems that the administration inherited and the long-suffering commuters of Metro Manila have known for years how the past government destroyed the MRT.”

Robredo on Thursday reminded the Duterte administration not to use officials of the previous leadership to cover up for its shortcomings.

This after the Department of Transportation filed plunder and graft complaints against several top officials of the Aquino administration over the P3.8-billion maintenance contract for the problematic MRT-3.

"Ako, mahirap magparatang, pero sa akin, kapag may nagkasala, tama lamang na sampahan ng kaso. Iyong atin lang ninanais, sana iyong pagsampa ng kaso ay base sa datos na maayos. Hindi siya ginagawang dahilan para lang maghanap ng scapegoat para sa mga bagay na hindi nagagawa," Robredo told reporters in Caloocan City.

The Vice President, an Aquino ally, however, refused to speculate on whether the recent filing of charges against officials of the Aquino administration was enough reason to say that the Duterte administration is cracking down on members of the opposition.

"Dapat kung mag-file ng kaso, ito ay base sa ebidensya na mayroon talagang pagkakasala na ginawa. Ang nakakatakot lang, baka ginagawa ito para magpasa ng blame sa iba. Ito iyong dapat hindi pinapayagan," she said.

Photo by Ivan Villegas

Among those charged by the DOTr were former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and former MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe.

Roque said the filing of charges against officials in the previous administration “was to make them accountable.”

“These officials facilitated the negotiated procurement of long-term maintenance contracts to BURI, which per the Supplemental Complaint Affidavit filed by the DOTr, ‘turned the DOTC as a bottomless cash cow entering into one anomalous procurement project,’” Roque said.

“We cannot simply sweep the sins of incompetence and corruption under the rug with the harsh reality of half a million daily suffering riding public staring us in the face.”