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Abaya faces graft charges over defective train coaches

An anti-graft group filed yesterday corruption charges against former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya over the alleged acquisition of defective train coaches from China under the previous administration.

Included in the charge sheet were former head and members of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) bids and awards committee (BAC), namely; Perpetuo Lotilla, chairman and members Rene Limcaoco, Julianito Bucayan, Catherine Jennifer Gonzales, Roman Buenafe and Deo Leo Manalo, present director for operations of Metro Rail Transit 3.

In filing the criminal case, Anti-Trapo Movement (ATM) of the Philippines chairman Leon Peralta said the respondents were charged with violating the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for entering into an alleged anomalous contract with Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. of China.

He said the contract was grossly disadvantages to the government because the delivered train coaches were incomplete and non-functional as evidenced by the continued non-deployment of the said coaches along the MRT tracks at EDSA.

For one, Peralta said the coaches are not equipped with signaling module to prevent the trains from colliding with each other along the railways.

He said Dalian allegedly failed to deliver what was required in the contract, thereby causing undue injury to the Filipino people and the government.

“The non-operational Dalian-made coaches likewise resulted in the lost farebox (beepcard) revenues amounting to million of pesos,” Peralta added.

He added that the “acts committed by the respondents are clearly within the ambit of the corrupt practices of public officers which are penalized under the anti-graft law.”

Joining the ATM in filing the complaint were the Liga Ng Explosibong Pagbabago and the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters. (JUN RAMIREZ)