THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) yesterday filed plunder and graft complaints against former officials of the Aquino administration over the alleged P3.8 billion maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3).
DoTr Undersecretary Reinier Paul Yebra said charged before the Office of the Ombudsman were former Interior and Local Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget chief Florencio Abad, Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya of then Department of Transportation and Communications, MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Energy chief Jericho Petilla, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, National Economic and Development Authority chief Arsenio Balicasan, and Transportation Undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Gonzales.
A certain Marlo dela Cruz, members of Bids and Awards Committee, and former officials of MRT3 maintenance contractor Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) were also included in the charge sheet.
The case stemmed from the DoTC’s procurement of goods and services from BURI for the maintenance, general overhaul of light rail vehicles, and the replacement of the signaling system.
Yebra said former President Aquino was not included in the charge because he was not a member of the Government Procurement and Policy Board.
The new complaints were the third filed against Abaya, Limcaoco, and Buenafe at the Ombudsman in connection with the BURI maintenance contract for the MRT3.
The DoTr filed a separate graft complaint against the three former officials, along with officials of BURI last October 23.
Militant groups on Monday filed a separate complaint against Abaya and others.
Acting Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez said the government paid BURI a monthly fee of P54 million despite its poor performance in handling the MRT3.
Aside from the non-bailable offense of plunder, the DoTr also charged the respondents of violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 10 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Yebra said President Rodrigo Duterte was aware of the complaint.
Balisacan, Abad and Singson have deferred to comment, saying they need to read the complaint first.