By Aries Joseph Hegina | Philippine Daily Inquirer | July 5, 2015

Senator Grace Poe on Sunday questioned why Transportation Secretary Joseph E.A Abaya was not among officials to be charged by the Ombudsman in the allegedly anomalous $11.5-million maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

  “I would like to read the text of the resolution in full to find out why DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was not included despite having allegedly signed the contract presumably with full knowledge of the facts and the applicable law surrounding such anomalous procurement of services,” Poe said in a statement.

 Despite her doubts, the senator clarified that she respected the decision of the Ombudsman.

 In a 39-page resolution, Morales found probable cause to charge former MRT chief Al Vitangcol and Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams) incorporators Wilson De Vera, Arturo Soriano, Marlo Dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit, and Federico Remo for violating Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 65(c)(1) of the Government Procurement Reform Act, arising from the allegedly anomalous MRT3 interim maintenance contract.

 On the other hand, the graft charge against Abaya, Liberal Party acting president and ally of President Benigno Aquino III, was dismissed.

 Poe, the chair of the Senate committee on public services, said that the Ombudsman’s indictment against Vitangcol and his cohorts was for the thousands of commuters who suffer from the glitches in the overburdened train system.

 “This should serve as a severe warning to the current MRT administrators to get their acts together and that ineptness prompted by illegal motives shall be dealt with severely,” she said.

 The senator conducted a series of investigations on the MRT and LRT last year. Poe even rode the MRT to personally witness the deplorable condition of the trains and its train stations.