Erwin Colcol | GMA News | November 7, 2017

A party-list representative on Tuesday took a swipe at Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) for claiming that the glitches and breakdowns hounding the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) were caused by its faulty rails.

In a statement, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Representative Jericho Nograles said BURI is "lying through its teeth" for making such claim.

"Don't blame it on the rails!... You cannot blame the rails for the missing parts, the fire incidents, the aircon failure, the door jamming, the overpriced services, the fake parts and many others," said Nograles, who has initiated a House inquiry which exposed the anomalous behind the maintenance contract between the government and BURI.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday formally terminated BURI's maintenance contract with the MRT-3, citing substandard performance.

BURI, however, said it will seek arbitration, and that the department can only cut ties after going through arbitration proceedings.

It also said that the glitches on the train were due to faulty rail lines and were outside their control.

"Sinabi na namin sa kanila 'yang mga sira na 'yan. Mangyayari lahat 'yan unless palitan ninyo 'yung riles kasi 'yung pagpalit ng riles separate contract 'yan. Hindi sa amin 'yan," BURI external counsel Maricris Pahate said in a press conference on Monday.

Nograles, however, said that while the rails may be blamed for some of the breakdowns, most were due to incompetence, lack of foresight and perhaps even sabotage.

He added that BURI could not point to the condition of the rails in justifying its failure to rehabilitate the 43 train coaches as part of its commitment.

Out of the 26 train coaches set for rehabilitation, Nograles said none have been delivered by BURI completely.

"How can they blame their failure to rehabilitate the trains on the alleged defects of the rails? How can they explain the fact that the LRT trains which is a much older system is running better than MRT-3?" he said.

BURI likewise cannot claim that the termination of their contract must still undergo arbitration, Nograles said, as this is only applicable for valid and legal contracts.

"How can they claim the right to arbitration when their contract itself is patently illegal and therefore invalid?" he said.

Nograles urged Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to remain firm in their decision and file plunder charges against individuals behind the anomalous deal.