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Palace blames past admin for MRT mess


Malacañang said the Duterte administration is doing its best to address the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) problem which its predecessor had created.

This after Vice President Leni Robredo said she hopes that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) filed charges against former government officials based on evidence and not just to look for a scapegoat.

“Dapat kung mag-file ng kaso, ito ay base sa ebidensya na mayroon talagang pagkakasala na ginawa,” Robredo had said.

“Hindi siya ginagawang dahilan para lang maghanap ng scapegoat para sa mga bagay na hindi nagagawa,” she added.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the Palace finds Robredo’s statement unfortunate.

“We find the vice president’s remarks unfortunate. With all due respect to Vice President Robredo, the MRT-3 issue is not about covering up shortcomings,” Roque said in a statement yesterday.

Roque said the administration has been dealing with the problem and President Duterte even apologized for the inconvenience the MRT mess has caused the riding public.

“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,” the Palace official said.

Roque also hit the previous administration for “destroying” the MRT.

“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,” he said.

Roque added that the filing of the plunder complaint against officials of the previous administration was meant to make them accountable.

“These officials facilitated the negotiated procurement of long-term maintenance contracts to BURI (Busan Universal Rain Inc.), which per the Supplemental Complaint Affidavit filed by the DOTr, ‘turned the DoTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) as a bottomless cash cow entering into one anomalous procurement project,’” he 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,” he added.

Last month, the DOTr filed plunder complaints against nine top members of former President Benigno Aquino III’s cabinet over the alleged anomalous contract for the maintenance of the MRT.

Among the respondents are former DoTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who served as DoTC chief before Abaya.

Also charged were former Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy secretary Jericho Petilla, former Science and Technology chief Mario Montejo, former Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Public Works and Highways secretary Rogelio Singson, and former National Development and Economic Administration secretary Arsenio Balicasan.