Bernadette E. Tamayo | Journal Online | May 15, 2017

FORMER President Benigno Aquino is partly to blame for the operational problems in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) when he appointed someone not fit to head the transportation agency.

Sen. Grace Poe stressed this point amid calls for Aquino to remove then Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for being inefficient in addressing the problems hounding the operation of the MRT system as well as the "tanim bala" incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"You can only go with past experiences based on their credentials. They always serve at the pleasure of the President," said Poe, in a radio interview.

"Kaya lang napapakamot tayo ng ulo kasi minsan iniisip natin, how can you be confident with that person if the person has not been delivering on his duties, his deliverables so that means it's just a personal relation that's keeping you in office," she said.

Poe added:"Hindi p'wedeng ganun. Dapat, kahit naman saan, ang titingnan mo ay 'yung kakayahan ng mga nilagay mo diyan. Iyun lang siguro ang nakikita kong malaking kakulangan."

Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, is set to conduct today an investigation into the purchase of 48 train coaches worth P3.8 billion which turned out to have defective signaling system.

She invited Abaya to the public inquiry but the latter declined since he is set to go on a holy land pilgrimage.

"Nakikita kasi ng taumbayan na palpak ang secretary. Kung siguro sa rasonableng oras pinalitan (si Abaya), mapapatawad mo (pa si Aquino)," she said.

"Tapos kung naglagay ka ulit, siguro pumalpak ulit, palitan ulit. Kasi hindi mo naman matatantya ang bawat tao na nilalagay mo," she said.