Margaret Claire Layug | GMA News | October 27, 2017
A lawmaker on Friday said only one out of the 73 MRT-3 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) is equipped with original parts from an authorized supplier while the rest have been replaced with "fakes."
Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist Representative Jericho Nograles said in a statement he was able to obtain documents showing that the original parts provided by the Bombardier Transportation Signal Ltd. were removed and replaced with unauthorized and mismatched or "chopseuy" Vehicle Logic Units (VLUs).
Chopsuey is originally a Chinese dish of mixed vegetables garnished with meat, but the word is also commonly used as a metaphor for something that is mixed or a miscellany of various objects.
"I'm no engineer but it's very basic that when you have devices that have different operating systems, interfacing them to do a single task can be a problem," Nograles said.
"An apple iPhone for example can have difficulty connecting or pairing through Bluetooth with an android device. The same is true with the VLUs," he added.
The House Committee on Good Government should find out when the original Bombardier VLUs were removed and who was responsible for installing the anomalous replacements.
During a committee hearing earlier this month, Charles Mercado, spokesman for the MRT-3 service provider Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), denied that they replaced VLUs with unauthorized units.
"So it turns out BURI's lawyer and spokesman Atty. Charles Mercado is lying through his teeth when he claimed that the VLUs installed in the MRT3 cars are all original parts and no replacement has been made of these very important safety devices. It turns out that except for one car, all other cars have fake VLUs," Nograles claimed in the statement.
"I think that he should be cited for contempt for lying under oath," he said.
The lawmaker noted that the parts could have also been replaced before BURI took over as the MRT3 maintenance contractor.
Nograles noted Japan's Sumitomo originally handled the MRT-3 maintenance. PH-Trams-CB&T took over for six months, then Global Epcom-Apt, followed by Global EpCom-SBI-CB&T.
Nograles linked the companies to supplier Diamond Pearl Development Corporation. Marlo dela Cruz, the owner of Diamond Pearl, allegedly closed the deal with BURI valued at P4 million.
"After Sumitomo, different companies took over maintenance before BURI," the lawmaker said.
"Strangely, all these companies had Marlo Dela Cruz as one of the top incorporators. And when BURI took over, he became BURI's supplier. To me, this is highly anomalous and it appears that all these contracts have been manipulated to favor Dela Cruz," Nograles claimed.
"Is it a coincidence that the VLUs were surreptitiously taken off the MRT-3 cars and replaced with fake ones and Marlo Dela Cruz suddenly becomes the VLU supplier?" he said.
"Marlo dela Cruz should stop ignoring our summons for him to explain his role in these MRT-3 maintenance contracts," he added.
Last August, Nograles filed a resolution calling for a probe into BURI's purchase and installation of supposed "fake" spare parts.
On October 4, Department of Transportation (DOTr) consultant Hernando Cabrera presented an audit report before the House panel showing the MRT-3 units costing P2 million each have been "tampered with."
Oscar Bongon, the chief engineer of MRT-3, told the committee hearing the parts were still on the trains.