The Manila Times | February 26, 2016
Former Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) General Manager Al Vitangcol 3rd wants the Sandiganbayan to direct the prosecution to provide him copies of counter-affidavits submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman by officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) including Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
The Ombudsman charged Vitangcol with graft along with five incorporators of the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation (PH Trams) in connection with the award of the MRT-3 maintenance deal to the joint venture of PH Trams and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corporation (CB&T) in 2012.
“Accused Vitangcol, by himself, most respectfully moves for leave of this Honorable Court to direct the Office of the Special Prosecutor to produce material evidence relative to the instant case and respond to the enclosed Request for Admissions and Production of Material Evidence,” the former MRT official asked the anti-graft court’s Third Division.
Vitangcol mentioned that during the Ombudsman’s preliminary investigation, the respondents included 15 other DOTC officials who were eventually cleared.
“These officials submitted their respective Counter-Affidavits, copies of which were
requested by the herein accused from the Ombudsman but to no avail. The Ombudsman deliberately and maliciously withheld the said Affidavits. Said Affidavits would show the innocence of accused Vitangcol and negate the wrongful accusations of the Ombudsman,” he added.
Vitangcol asked the court to direct the Office of the Special Prosecutor to produce and allow the copying of the counter-affidavits.
He also asked the court to defer the pre-trial of the cases until the prosecution will have replied to his request.
In his request, Vitangcol asked the prosecution to provide him with authenticated copies of the counter-affidavits executed by Abaya, Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Undersecretary Rafael Antonio Santos, Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, Assistant Secretary Ildefonso Patdu, Land Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Honorito Chaneco, negotiating team member Geronimo Quintos, and PH Trams incorporator Wilson De Vera.
Vitangcol likewise sought the joint counter-affidavit executed by negotiating team members Misael Narca, Engr. Joel Magbanua, Arnel Manresa, and Natividad Sansolis.
Government prosecutors however opposed Vitangcol’s motion, saying he “failed to show any good cause for the production of the requested documents, nor the materiality thereof to any matter involved in the instant cases.” REINA TOLENTINO
“Moreover, the documents requested pertain to the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents and not to any written statement given by the complainant and other witnesses,” the prosecutors said.
“What I am asking from the court is for me to be provided with copies of all the counter-affidavits of the other respondents who were cleared because in all these counter-affidavits, you will see that they said that there was no anomaly in any MRT contract, no conspiracy, no influence peddling and most of all, they say that this is aboveboard,” Vitangcol told reporters in an earlier interview.
“So, I can use those counter-affidavits in my defense. Because if they all said that the contract was aboveboard…that no anomaly happened, what is curious is why the Ombudsman will single me out and say that there is an anomaly and that the contract is not aboveboard and wrong,” he added.