Romualdez: Vitangcol should be investigated for graft, corruption

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Published : Wednesday, May 28, 2014 00:00

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FORMER Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol should be investigated for graft and corruption over his failure to disqualify the company that bagged the P517.5 million maintenance contract of the mass transit where one of its incorporators was his wife’s relative.

“Mr. Vitangcol should still be investigated for graft and corruption despite his sudden removal from office,” Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez  disclosed during the House committee on good government hearing yesterday that he resigned following reports that he was relieved from his post.

“Assuming Al Vitangcol was right, the least he could have done was to immediately disqualify them for pursuing the contract. Based on Section 47 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184, it shall be a ground for disqualification if the winning bidder failed to declare that it is not related to the head of the procuring entity by consanguinity or affinity up to the third civil degree,” Romualdez added.

During his testimony, Vitangcol confirmed that a certain Arturo Soriano, one of the PH Trams incorporators, was the uncle of his wife which he belatedly discovered.

Reports said Soriano is one of the director-incorporators of PH Trams, a company registered in August 2012 which bagged the maintenance contract to which it is supposed to provide tracks and trains for MRT-3 in October 2012.

The DOTC had awarded a P517-million train maintenance contract to a corporation with a measly paid-up capital of P625,000.

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, a member of Romualdez bloc, urged Vitangcol to tell everything behind the controversy, including allegations that he attempted to extort $30 million from Czech train manufacturer Inekon Group, in exchange for a contract for 48 new coaches for MRT3 in July 2012.

“He should bare everything even if this would lead to the implication of other top government officials and other influential personalities,” dela Cruz said.

Earlier, Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar, who failed to attend again the hearing yesterday, disclosed the alleged extortion try which Vitangcol vehemently denied.

In the hearing, Vitangcol said he only learned his connection with Soriano on September 2012.

After this, Vitangcol said he immediately talked to his uncle-in-law and asked him to divest his shares in the firm as it would not be proper because of their family relationship.

“I directly told him it would be improper on his and my part,” Vitangcol said, explaining to lawmakers that Soriano  was no longer part of the project at the time PH Trams won the contract from the Department of Communications and Transportation (DoTC).

Also in the hearing, Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya confirmed that Vitangcol filed his resignation, but stressed that only President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has the authority to accept his resignation.

“Vitangcol is a presidential appointee. The President can only take him out,” Abaya said as he confirmed that he temporarily relieved Vitangcol from his post upon getting confirmation about his relationship with Soriano.Ryan Ponce Pacpaco


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