Christine F. Herrera April 5, 2016
FORMER Metro Rail Transit-3 general manager Al Vitangcol III on Monday again blamed Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and LP officials for the “anomalous” contracts that caused problems in Metro Manila’s train system.
At the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel, Vitangcol accused Roxas of being a liar during the presidential debate by trying to make himself look good at his and everybody else’s expense.
“I don’t understand why Mar Roxas had to drag my name to make him look good in the presidential debate. What he said were all lies. He kept saying I was sacked because I was involved in shady deals. I was not sacked. I chose to resign,” Vitangcol said.
Vitangcol said all contracts beyond P5 million had to be approved by the DoTC with Roxas and Abaya at the helm.
He said the PH Trans deal was worth beyond P5 million and that the owner was not his uncle but his wife’s and that the uncle sold his shares.
“Mar Roxas insisted I was involved in that deal when I had nothing to do with it,” he said.
“Roxas has ben mouthing lies. He is such a liar and he can lie through his teeth,” Vitangcol said. “It was the DoTC that approved the deal, not MRT. Not me.”
Vitangcol said all MRT contracts beyond P5 million needed the signatures of the DoTC chiefs to make them valid and deemed approved.
“Even if I signed the contracts and another undersecretary signed it, the contracts remain invalid unless signed, during my time, by Roxas and then Abaya,” Vitangcol said. “I have little say in the approval of the contract, much less to negotiate for it. I have no say in the approval of the contracts so no reason for me to negotiate on my own accord.”
Asked whether he referred to Roxas and Abaya when he submitted to the Supreme Court an affidavit saying that he was merely following orders, Vitangcol nodded his head. Pressed if he could verbalize the nodding, Vitangcol said, “Yes.”
Asked whether Roxas and Abaya made money out of these contracts, Vitangcol said, “I neither confirm nor deny that.”
Vitangcol said Roxas and Abaya had three Is in their track record that brought trouble in all government contracts.
“These three Is are inaction, incompetence and ignorance,” he said.
Vitangcol said he had reminded Roxas many times that the contract of maintenance under firm Sumitomo was about to expire and that a public bidding should already be done so as not to hamper the MRT operations.
“Mar Roxas refused to listen. He sat on my proposal and so now the MRT is in a mess,” Vitangcol said.
He said Roxas, Abaya and the Liberals found a way to hide the irregularities by controlling the media.
Against his recommendation of subjecting the contract to a public bidding, Vitangcol said Abaya negotiated and granted an exclusive three-year contract to Philippine Daily Inquirer to allow the distribution of its newspaper in all MRT stations.
“At the height of controversies in MRT, an Inquirer reporter asked me to react to a press release issued by the DOTC against me. We talked for more than 30 minutes. When the story came out, the Inquirer published the DOTC’s press release en toto and not a word from that interview with me was carried,” Vitangcol said.
He also said it was not him but Wilson de Vera, an LP official who was closely identified with Roxas and Abaya, that negotiated with Czech firm Inekon, which accused Vitangcol of having demanded $30 million in exchange for the contract.
Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar’s report to Congress showed that the MRT official allegedly had tried to force a 60-40 joint venture with Inekon, the Czech company that refused to pay $30 million to bag the P3.77 billion contract to supply new coaches to the MRT.
The Filipino company composed of Vitangcol’s men allegedly eventually offered a joint venture to the Chinese company that bagged the supply contract, Rychtar had said.
On July 10, 2012, the day after Vitangcol and his “envoy” Wilson de Vera brought up the $30 million demand, Rychtar said he and the Inekon executives were surprised when Vitangcol met them in his office with a new agreement for a joint venture ready for signing.
Rychtar described De Vera as an “envoy of Mr. Vitangcol since he behaved like that at an official dinner.”