By The Standard | July 1, 2015

FORMER Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto “Jing” Paras challenged DILG secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday to reveal what really happened in the MRT bribery scandal since Roxas was the one who initially signed the billion peso MRT maintenance contract in favor of PH Trams.

At the Kapihan sa Manila Diamond where Paras was invited, the former chairman of the Congressional Committee on Transportation and Communications, says it is time for Roxas to reveal what really happened since the scam involved his close associate Al Vitangcol and other DOTC officials.

After DOTC awarded the MRT maintenance contract to PH Trams, Parasa said the operation of the MRT started to decline causing several trains to meet accidents and injured several passengers.

This inefficiency continues up to today when only seven trains are running to the detriment of the people mostly coming from Metro Manila.

Before the anomalous PH Trams maintenance contract, the maintenance of MRT was handled very well by Sumitomo, but Paras said Roxas awarded the contract to PH Trams for political reasons although the majority stockholder of the firm was the father-in-law of Vitangcol.

Due to this anomaly, Vitangcol was fired by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and a new contractor APT Global replaced PH Trams, the latter being in the same category as the defunct PH Trams, hence no improvement in the quality of service in the MRT 3.

Prior to the scandal in the PH Trams contract, and this was also the time of Mar Roxas at the DOTC, the Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar, revealed a supposed attempt at extortion by DOTC officials.

“This Inekon deal happened three years ago and nothing came about it. No one among those named was charged in court. The fact is, days shortly after it came out of the media, Mar Roxas silently distanced himself from the scandal. But, of course, he cannot hide from this,” says Paras.

Paras also noted that it was only Al Vitangcol who was severely vilified in public yet all other undersecretaries, especially those close to Roxas, were spared.

The Czech ambassador claimed in his testimony that three DOTC undersecretaries, namely Jose Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco, Catherine Gonzales, and Assistant Secretary Jaime Feliciano, were likewise involved in the scam.

“Did the Aquino administration called on the Ombudsman to investigate and file charges against these undersecretaries who are known to be very close to Mar Roxas? None. This case was given to the Department of Justice, specifically by the NBI and nothing was heard ever since.”

Vitangcol has since tendered his resignation and has been replaced. All other personalities involved in the alleged bribery continues to work at the DOTC. Non-DOTC personalities who were likewise linked with the scam identified as Marlo Dela Cruz, and Wilson de Vera were not charged.

Dela Cruz, whose name was also dragged into the controversy, is the LP man in Manaoag Pangasinan. Reports show Dela Cruz as the alleged “big-time contractor” who always bag contracts related to the MRT/LRT.