by Hannah Torregoza | February 3, 2016

A draft committee report recommending the filing of graft charges against Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and other MRT-3 officials has been submitted to the Senate committee on public services.

The 45-page report signed and drafted by the Senate subcommittee on transportation, chaired by Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, was given to the mother committee headed by Senator Serge Osmeña.

In the report, Poe said pertinent provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act could have been violated by the “DOTC involved directly on the MRT-3 operations.”

The report, however, did not specifically identify the names of the DOTC and MRT-3 officials that must be charged.

Her committee, which held at least five hearings and one ocular inspection held at the MRT Depot, touched on the complicated ownership of the MRT-3, the problems on the maintenance provider; including commuter woes on non-functioning elevators and escalators, long queues, and other related issues.

In its report, the subcommittee recommended the enactment of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as the central agency that would be tasked to achieve the highest standards of excellence in investigating transportation issues.

Poe’s panel also recommended the creation of a mutli-sectoral body that would include civil society, the business sector, and international experts as the confidence builder for the public.

The report also suggested replacing the current maintenance contractor. According to Poe, the increase in the MRT fare imposed by the DOTC “was an act of bad faith.”

“There has been a steady increase of incidents of train malfunction arising from the inadequate maintenance of the MRT-3 but it was the accident of Aug. 13, 2014 in which an MRT-3 train with passengers overshot at the EDSA –Taft Station,” Poe said in the report.

Poe earlier said that Abaya and other officials of the DOTC are liable for “negligence of duty” for their failure to solve the problems of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) systems which have burdened millions of commuters in Metro Manila.