Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez | GMA News | June 9, 2017
Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday told former Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II to "start reviewing" the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) maintenance contracts, as she questioned why "nothing happened" during Roxas' stint with the now defunct Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
Poe earlier said Roxas, secretary of DOTC from July 2011 to October 2012, will be invited by the Senate public services committee in its ongoing probe on the MRT maintenance amid repeated glitches affecting the train system.
"Based on the facts, the question remains, Secretary Roxas did not act immediately on renewing the contract of Sumitomo or allot enough time so that legitimate bidders with a track record could have participated," Poe said.
"He hastily gave it to company that is untested. Yun yung sinasabi namin," she said, adding that some senators want to hear Roxas' explanation before the Senate panel.
GMA News Online has already reached out to Roxas' camp for his comment but he has yet to issue a statement as of posting time.
During the previous hearing, former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol claimed Roxas did not respond to letters reminding him of the expiration of the maintenance contact with Sumitomo Corp. back in 2012.
The maintenance of trains was transferred to PH Trams without public bidding, after the contract was awarded just through emergency procurement. It was Roxas' successor, former Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who eventually signed the contract.
Abaya had admitted that he signed the contract without knowing the background of the firm, which Poe said was awarded a P54-million-a-month deal despite having a capital of only P625,000.
"I would advise anybody who is likely to be invited to the Senate to start reviewing already," Poe said.
"I think that if there will come a time that Secretary Roxas will have to explain what took him so long — he was there 2011 until latter 2012 — and nothing happened during his tenure," she added.
Poe said her committee will continue its investigation until glitches hound the MRT system, and the agencies responsible is found to be failing in its delivery of public services.
“I think that it is also an opportunity for him (Roxas), with all due respect to former secretaries, whoever they are, they need to come back and explain to the public because even if they are no longer in public service, they continue to be accountable for the decisions they've made or if they've been neglectful of their responsibilities or not having performed as expected," she said.