By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez | | September 26, 2014

MANILA, Philippines - Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Friday said he will not take a leave of absence or resign from his post unless ordered by President Benigno Aquino III or the courts in the wake of an investigation by the Ombudsman over the alleged anomalous maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3).

"I'll follow the instructions of the President, because if I take a leave at the DOTC, and problems would ensue, then that would be a disservice to the people. I'm sure the President would give me advice on how to move on," Abaya said in an interview on the sidelines of budget hearings.

He said he would face the investigation by the Ombudsman with the same openness and transparency his office had shown during past investigations and congressional inquiries.

Abaya said that taking a leave from office when involved in a case "was not the standard."

"Their [similarly situated officials before him] first reaction was to face the case, prepare for it ... not to go on leave. On my own, I think I would be a disservice to our country if I take a leave. You know the issues in DOTC.... whoever will replace me will have a lot of catching up to do. Unless instructed by the President or higher authorities or by the courts, I think the country will be better off by [having] me continue manning the ship," he said.

Aside from Abaya, also facing criminal investigation for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) are former MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol III; DOTC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members, namely: Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, Undersecretary Rafael Antonio Santos, Assistant Secretary Ildefonso Patdu, Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, and LRTA Administrator Honorito Chaneco.

Also under investigation are members of the Negotiating Team, namely: Misael Narca, Engr. Joel Magbanua, Arnel Manresa, Natividad Sansolis, Engr. Gina Rodriguez, Eugene Cecilio, Engr. Raphael Lavides, Atty. Geronimo Quintos; and representatives from the joint venture of the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation-Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corporation (PH Trams - CB&T) Wilson De Vera, Arturo Soriano, Marlo Dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit and Federico Remo.