Trisha Macas | GMA News | November 21, 2017
The government is again expected to spend billions of pesos for the glitch-ridden Metro Rail Transit Line 3 as the Department of Transportation looks to build new rails, buy new coaches and a new signaling system, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential spokesman Secretary Harry Roque so announced even as the coaches bought in the latter years of the Aquino administration have yet to be used due to supposed incompatibility with the existing rails.
Glitches such as trip stoppages started under the Aquino administration but continue to hound the MRT3 under President Rodrigo Duterte.
"(Tugade) assured me. One, that they are going to procure a reliable maintenance contractor; two, they're building new rails. They're buying new train cars and new signaling system 'no. They are in other words revamping almost completely the MRT," Roque said.
"And meanwhile, there is a safety audit being conducted 'no to ensure the safety of the riding public," he added.
Asked about the government's deadline on the MRT crisis, Roque said: "We're crying for a solution and we’re crying for a quick solution and I'm sure that Secretary Tugade and Undersecretary Chavez are really taking all the necessary steps."
Although President Rodrigo Duterte continues to trust Tugade, Roque indicated that the Chief Executive would not hesitate to remove officials he thinks should go.
"I will not speculate po 'no. But I think the track record of the President speaks for itself. It does not matter if you're closest to him. If he thinks you should go, you will go," Roque said.
Roque said that the previous officials who allowed the government to enter into a contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc. should be held liable for their actions.
The Department of Transportation earlier filed charges against the officials before the Ombdusman.
"We must stress that the great suffering of the riding public as result of the failure to deliver on the responsibilities of public office, such as the case of the current state of the MRT-3 system, carries consequences and that those accountable will be held liable," Roque said.
"In the height of injustice that Filipino taxpayers have to pay P54 million per month, on top of a P1.8 billion fixed fee for other services, to an unworthy contractor incapable of delivering the reliable system," he added.
He added that the legal processes of rescinding from a contract would not be easy for DOTr.
"You have to understand, this is also a legal quicksand with signed contracts," Roque said.
"You see, the rule in obligations and contracts is although you can unilaterally rescind, you do so at the risk of being overruled by the courts," he added.