By Trisha Macas | GMA News Online | November 4, 2015
Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said that Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas is partly to blame for the current state of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
Poe said Roxas was secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications when the government was conducting a review of the rail system's maintenance provider. Roxas was appointed to handle the transport portfolio in 2011 before moving to the Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2012.
Current DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who also serves as president of the Liberal Party, replaced Roxas.
"Noong panahon po niya nadesisyunan kung sino ang magmementena ng tren," Poe said in a radio interview when asked directly whether there were things Roxas failed to do about the problem.
"Pinirmahan lamang ito ni Secretary Abaya nang siya na ang nakaupo."
Poe last year chaired a Senate public services subpanel that conducted a series of hearings about complaints about the MRT's services. At the hearings, Poe decried the long queues at MRT stations that the commuting public endures daily.
She also raised the issue of poorly-maintained comfort rooms in MRT stations which include non-functioning toilet flushes and toilet sinks as well as filthy floors.
When asked for comment, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, the spokesman for LP, said Poe did not have a full grasp of the issues.
"She doesn't know what she's saying because during the time the MRT contract was implemented, she was in the US. And still an American," said Erice, referring to Poe's renunciation of her American citizenship in 2010.
But in her radio interview, Poe said that while the original MRT contract was onerous, the government also dropped the ball when it comes to maintaining the system.
"Totoo napakawalanghiya ng kontrata ng MRT, pero noong pumasok din, 'di rin natin pinagbuti," she said.
"Maintenance provider [pero] wala man lang parts pampalit. Wala man lang pang-repair. Banyo man lang 'di ma-repair," she added.