NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

ROXAS, ABAYA EQUALLY LIABLE FOR MRT MESS - 'BAYAN' SEC GENERAL


JULY 7 --ABAYA, ROXAS  INTERIOR Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd should be made to answer for the problems now besetting the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3because it was during his time as Transportation secretary when negotiations for various procurement contracts were done. “[Now Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio] Abaya is just Mar’s ‘yes’ man,” a former official of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) who left the agency for a better job in the private sector told The Manila Times. The source’s disclosure came as militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) assailed an Office of the Ombudsman resolution clearing top DOTC officials of any wrongdoing in an allegedly anomalous maintenance contract between the agency and PH Trams Corp. Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said the initial probe conducted by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO) included 21 respondents, including the DOTC secretary, the entire Bids and Awards Committee [BAC] that included Undersecretaries Jose Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco and Raphael Santos, as well as the entire DOTC Negotiating Team that dealt with PH Trams. “Now lo and behold, only one government official has been charged. Only former MRT GM [General manager] Al Vitangcol is being made accountable as a member of the BAC and as end-user of the contract. Either Vitangcol is genius scammer able to pull off the multimillion-dollar deal without the knowledge of the entire DOTC, or DOTC officials are just hopelessly incompetent,” Reyes added.READ MORE...

ALSO: Grace Poe questions Morales’ decision to clear Abaya in graft raps over MRT deal


JULY 5 --Senator Grace Poe is curious why Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was spared in the Ombudsman's filing of graft charges over the alleged irregularities in the MRT-3's interim maintenance contract.
"I would like to read the text of the resolution in full to find out the reasons why DOTC Sec. 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 Sunday. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday ordered the filing of graft charges against former Metro Rail Transit 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III and five incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation over the deal worth $1.15 million a month. The Ombudsman, however, did not include Abaya in the list ordered to be charged though he and other DOTC officials were named as among the respondents in the original complaint filed by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office. Abaya, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), is a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III. READ MORE...

ALSO: Read first, Abaya tells Poe


JULY 7 --DOTC Sec, Joseph Abaya had reportedly claimed that he was not aware of irregularities in the MRT maintenance contract. PHILSTAR File photo
TRANSPORTATION Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told Senator Grace Poe on Monday to first read and understand the Ombudsman’s resolution on the controversial maintenance contracts for the Metro Rail Transit-3 before commenting on the matter. Abaya made the remark as Malacañang scrambled to deny allegations that the Aquino administration is protecting him and current Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who preceded Abaya at the DOTC, from prosecution over the deal that is now being blamed from the problems of the train system. “[Poe] admitted that she had not read the resolution so it would be better if she first reads the full resolution why the Ombudsman’s decisions was like that,” Abaya said in a television interview. “It would seem unseemly that she would believe one page and question the others,” added, referring to the Ombudsman’s resolution announced on July 3 ordering the filing of charges against some MRT officials, but not Abaya and Roxas. In the resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found probable cause that former MRT manager Al Vitangcol III and five others for irregularities in the MRT-3’s interim maintenance contract. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy still trusts Abaya, absolves DoTC chief  


JULY 8 --ABAYA WITH AQUINO 
Despite more critics falling in line to question the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to clear Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya from indictments and charges slapped by the Ombudsman over the anomalous maintenance contract for the Metro Railway Transit (MRT), the Palace yesterday reiterated that the embattled official continues to enjoy President Aquino’s trust and confidence, absolving yet another “untouchable” Cabinet secretary from corruption and extortion charges. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also failed to indict and charge Abaya, despite his having signed the questioned contract, saying that Abaya had not yet been at that time, installed as the DoTC chief. Critics have scored Morales, saying that if such is her reason for excluding Abaya from charges of corruption and extortion, then why was former DoTC chief now the Interior chief, Manuel “Mar” Roxas, not indicted, a criticism which Morales has not bothered to reply as she was obviously protecting yet another important Aquino ally. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, in a Palace briefing on Tuesday, said the President is the best judge on whether Abaya has left a legacy of “failure,” as critics say, on the situation of the mass transit system, but skirted around charges of yet another case of selective justice. “Let us leave to the President the decision on that, since members of the  Cabinet continue to serve as he continues to trust them,” he said, even as Coloma had already stated that Abaya continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of Aquino, which is a presidential absolution. READ MORE...

ALSO: MRT gen. manager accuses Morales of selective justice


JULY 8 ---MRT GENERAL MANAGER Al Vitangcol Manila Bulletin, mb.com.ph
Former Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) general manager cried foul over the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) charging him with graft and absolving other top officials of the Department of Transportaton and Communications (DOTC) who approved the alleged MRT-3 maintenance contract anomaly. In a motion for reconsideration (MR) filed before the OMB, Vitangcol sought the revesal of the decision issued last month and questioned why DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aabaya was excluded in the criminal complaint According to Vitangol , even Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla should be held liable if the Ombudsman believes that the deal was irregularly awarded to the joint venture of PH Trams-CB&T. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace defends allies, fires back at Vitangcol


JULY 10 ---VITANGCOL 
Malacañang yesterday immediately came to the administration allies’ defense after former Metro Railway Transit (MRT) general manager Alan Vitangcol questioned Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ move to pin him down in order to shield Liberal Party (LP) members from being indicted for graft in connection with the alleged anomalous maintenance contract entered into by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) with the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp (PH Trams). Vitangcol came out firing following the acquittal of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya and Undersecretary Jose Lotilla by the Ombudsman in the MRT anomaly. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., at a press briefing, dared Vitangcol to file a complaint before the Ombudsman, stressing the former MRT general manager has the right to issue additional information on the case and if thinks that he’s being treated unfairly. The Palace official also maintained that Malacañang has nothing to do with the Ombudsman’s recent action. “The best thing to do is for him to consult his position to the Office of the Ombudsman since he has the right to file additional information and motion for reconsideration. The executive has nothing to do with the issues against him,” Coloma said. READ MORE...

ALSO by Juan T. Gatbonton: Fragmented into self-interested factions, they are unable to lead nation forward


JULY 11 ---IMAGE SOURCED BY PHNO IMAGE COURTESY OF http://www.headlinegl.com/divisive-politics/  The experts prescribe for our dysfunctional politics our need to create cohesive electoral parties focused on policy instead of “pork.” But to do so is to go against the global trend. Political parties everywhere are fragmenting under the impact of the revolution in information and communication technology.
Elections are less and less debates about political beliefs and public policies, and more and more naked struggles for power and its perks. And the most successful politicians are those best able to reach out to voters with personal narratives closest to everyday people’s felt needs and life expectations. In our country, political fragmentation has gone so far that our party system has become a negative model for the new democracies. German analysts—surveying Asian and Latin American party systems—say the Philippines has arguably the most “weakly rooted” and most “poorly institutionalized” parties. (Thailand they rank second.) Factions rule Not parties based on common principles but factions based on common interests have long been the active elements in our party system.
The Spaniards and the Americans in turn staffed their colonial governments with the tiny elite they found dominating the archipelago’s warring chiefdoms. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Roxas, Abaya equally liable for MRT mess


AQUINO CABINET MEN: ABAYA, ROXAS

MANILA, JULY 13, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER - INTERIOR Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd should be made to answer for the problems now besetting the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3because it was during his time as Transportation secretary when negotiations for various procurement contracts were done.

“[Now Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio] Abaya is just Mar’s ‘yes’ man,” a former official of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) who left the agency for a better job in the private sector told The Manila Times.
The source’s disclosure came as militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) assailed an Office of the Ombudsman resolution clearing top DOTC officials of any wrongdoing in an allegedly anomalous maintenance contract between the agency and PH Trams Corp.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said the initial probe conducted by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO) included 21 respondents, including the DOTC secretary, the entire Bids and Awards Committee [BAC] that included Undersecretaries Jose Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco and Raphael Santos, as well as the entire DOTC Negotiating Team that dealt with PH Trams.

“Now lo and behold, only one government official has been charged. Only former MRT GM [General manager] Al Vitangcol is being made accountable as a member of the BAC and as end-user of the contract. Either Vitangcol is genius scammer able to pull off the multimillion-dollar deal without the knowledge of the entire DOTC, or DOTC officials are just hopelessly incompetent,” Reyes added.

READ MORE...

The Ombudsman cleared Abaya because he was appointed just two days earlier when he signed the contract as head of the DOTC.

“If the Ombudsman is saying that Abaya was new to the DOTC and therefore did not know that the contract was anomalous, why not investigate Mar Roxas who was DOTC secretary when the contract was negotiated? Is it only mere coincidence that two of Vitangcol’s co-accused have links to the Liberal Party headed by Roxas and Abaya?” the Bayan leader asked.

According to The Manila Times source, there had been offers from the private sector, particularly from the Metro Pacific Group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, for them to take over operations of MRT 3 but all were rejected.

“Ang sabi ni PNoy at Mar, papayamanin pa ba natin sila [President Aquino and Roxas said, ‘Why do we have to make them rich’]?” the source said.

The former DOTC official added that Roxas was apprehensive about the entry of Pangilinan’s group and was “cautious” that reports of corruption in the past administration might continue.

“It was Roxas’ mistake. He lacked foresight due to their fears of [former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria [Macapagal-] Arroyo. He imposed his own plans that eventually resulted in this mess,” the source said.

In a previous interview, Abaya himself admitted that the only issue that was raised by Roxas against the role of the private sector “is that the buy-out might tend to give a whitewash of the sins of the past.”

“We will make sure that it won’t happen again,” he said.

Subhead: No ‘sacred cows’

Also on Monday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there are no sacred cows or “untouchable” officials in the Aquino government and that anyone who may be found to be involved in various anomalies should face the law.

“There is no concept of ‘untouchable.’ The filing of cases from the DOJ [Department of Justice] and the executive are based on evidence. The Ombudsman is a separate and independent constitutional body,” Coloma pointed out.

For Bayan’s Reyes, the clearing of Abaya and other top DOTC officials was “one for Ripley’s.”

“Why clear the other members of the BAC including chairman Lotilla when it was the BAC that issued the resolution for a negotiated contract with an interim maintenance provider after the extended contract of the previous maintenance provider was set to expire?… The questionable maintenance deal could not have been accomplished without the knowledge of the top DOTC officials, including the department secretary and the Bids and Awards Committee,” he said.

12 Responses to Roxas, Abaya equally liable for MRT mess
christinetan says:
July 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm
““There is no concept of ‘untouchable.’ The filing of cases from the DOJ [Department of Justice] and the executive are based on evidence. The Ombudsman is a separate and independent constitutional body,” Coloma pointed out.” … Coloma must be told that “untouchable” or selective justice is actually NOT A CONCEPT BUT AN ACTUAL PRACTICE of Pnoy’s Admin. Buhol-buhol na ang salita ni Coloma.
Reply
ricelander says:
July 7, 2015 at 9:09 am
if I were a Manila Times reporter, I would be hunting down Vitangcol for an exclusive interview— before some people hide him from view.
Reply
Yanie Heartbreaker says:
July 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm
I’m pretty sure Vitangcol is part of the moro-moro. Why is the charge only graft when the amount involved is enough for plunder? Because with a plunder charge, Vitangcol would have to be detained. Eventually he will be acquitted.
So why was Abaya not included? Because he would have to testify, and if he does that, he would be forced to admit that it was Mar Roxas who negotiated the deal with PH Trams. So Malacanang – who thinks quoting PolSci 101 will make us believe they are not influencing the Ombudsman – wants to make sure Abaya doesn’t testify.
Red says:
July 7, 2015 at 8:40 am
di ba kasalan ni GMA? Paki tanong kay PeNoy. Si Mar at pABAYA walang kasalanan yan.
Reply
apolonio reyes says:
July 7, 2015 at 7:51 am
Dapat plunder at hindi graft ang kinaso kila Al Vitangol et al pagka’t yuon kontrata ay $1.5M/mo o P792M / year. Di ba mahigit ito sa P50M limit para Plunder ang ikaso Asst. Ombudsman Rafanan?
Reply
jane says:
July 7, 2015 at 7:45 am
Mar Roxas and Abaya is exactly the problem why the MRT is in this deteriorating situation today. Roxas and Abaya will deny,deny and will point fingers to the ones below them and obviously will not take full responsibility of their actions! Roxas and Aquino’s mindset has always been Vindictiveness from the very start of their governance. They cannot hide anymore from the good people of the Philippines. What a Train wreck!
Reply
Marlo says:
July 7, 2015 at 7:35 am
Yes, indeed. Why the preferred treatment for Roxas, Abaya and the entire DOTC BAC? Whoever did the evaluation of Bids, did the Post Qualification Evaluation, issued the Award and Notice to Proceed must be charged. If they are exempted by design by that septuagenerian of an Ombudsman, (what is her name again? is it Conchita Morales?), they who are intentionally overlooked today must be impleaded in July, 2016. And include Morales. Never mind if she is on the sunset side of her life. Otherwise, we will never grow up as nation.
And you Coloma from Abra, zip your mouth. You always talk a lot of nonsense.
Reply
abnoy 69 says:
July 7, 2015 at 7:24 am
It is only in the mouth of the Malacanang officials that there is no sacred cows or untouchable in the LP members or officials. These actions is all related to 2016 elections. Their presidential candidate is so weak that they need the support of those LP officials/members. If they will be charged, don’t you think they will support them? It is very clear in the water that will do everything just to win the Malacanang for them to spare from prosecution come 2016.
Reply
Pinoy Expo says:
July 7, 2015 at 4:13 am
extract from rappler.com:
“Kahit kelan, kahit papaano, hinding-hindi po ako sasama sa hindi daang matuwid, doon po ako sa daang matuwid, sa malinis, sa walang mantya, walang bahid ng kahit anong corruption doon sa kanilang pagseserbisyo,” Roxas told reporters on Friday, April 10, in Dagupan City,”
Was that you Mr. Roxas?
Reply
arabof says:
July 7, 2015 at 3:22 am
If the surnames of those involve in this scam were Binay, Estrada, Enrile or Revilla, warrant of arrest will be issued and plunder shall be the indictment.
Reply
fyi says:
July 7, 2015 at 3:18 am
Roxas is part of the Liberal Party so he wont be held accountable.
Reply
Inocent says:
July 7, 2015 at 12:17 am
Of course Mar and Emilio are as guilty as Vitangcol. The present difference is that Mar and Emilio are top LP and administration honchos while Al is already out.
Reply


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Grace Poe questions Morales’ decision to clear Abaya in graft raps over MRT deal July 5, 2015 4:44pm 1657 82 1 1994 Tags: Department of Transportation and Communication , Grace Poe Llamanzares

Senator Grace Poe is curious why Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was spared in the Ombudsman's filing of graft charges over the alleged irregularities in the MRT-3's interim maintenance contract.

"I would like to read the text of the resolution in full to find out the reasons why DOTC Sec. 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 Sunday.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday ordered the filing of graft charges against former Metro Rail Transit 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III and five incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation over the deal worth $1.15 million a month.

The Ombudsman, however, did not include Abaya in the list ordered to be charged though he and other DOTC officials were named as among the respondents in the original complaint filed by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office.

Abaya, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), is a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III.

READ MORE...

Poe was quick to clarify that she "respects" the decision of Ombudsman Morales, who earlier dared her critics to have her impeached.

"I welcome this indictment by the Ombudsman against Mr. Al Vitangcol and his cohorts on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who suffer the indignity of riding the MRT everyday under such deplorable conditions brought about by their almost heinous criminal indiscretions," she said.

"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," the senator added.

As chairman of committee on public services, Poe led a Senate investigation on the operations and anomalies concerning the MRT-3. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/BM, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

Read first, Abaya tells Poe By John Paolo Bencito, Sandy Araneta | Jul. 07, 2015 at 12:01am


Palace denies DOTC chief 'untouchable' in MRT mess. DOTC Sec, Joseph Abaya had reportedly claimed that he was not aware of irregularities in the MRT maintenance contract. File photo 

TRANSPORTATION Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told Senator Grace Poe on Monday to first read and understand the Ombudsman’s resolution on the controversial maintenance contracts for the Metro Rail Transit-3 before commenting on the matter.

Abaya made the remark as Malacañang scrambled to deny allegations that the Aquino administration is protecting him and current Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who preceded Abaya at the DOTC, from prosecution over the deal that is now being blamed from the problems of the train system.

“[Poe] admitted that she had not read the resolution so it would be better if she first reads the full resolution why the Ombudsman’s decisions was like that,” Abaya said in a television interview.

“It would seem unseemly that she would believe one page and question the others,” added, referring to the Ombudsman’s resolution announced on July 3 ordering the filing of charges against some MRT officials, but not Abaya and Roxas.

In the resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found probable cause that former MRT manager Al Vitangcol III and five others for irregularities in the MRT-3’s interim maintenance contract.

READ MORE...

At the same time, Malacanang also denied Poe’s claim that Abaya appears to be an “untouchable” because the Aquino administration is protecting him from prosecution.

“No one is untouchable,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. “The filing of cases before the [Department of Justice] and the executive is based on evidence.”

Coloma said the Ombudsman, which cleared Abaya from charges, is a government body not influenced by the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

“The Office of the Ombudsman is a separate and independent constitutional body,” Coloma added.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda even went a step further and described as fools those who even suggest that Malacañang can influence Carpio in her decisions as Ombudsman.

“[The opposition United Nationalist Alliance] must be a fool to even think one can dictate on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales,” Lacierda said in a text message.

Lacierda made the remark in response to the charge of UNA secretary general JV Bautista that the Ombudsman is afraid to go after the “big fish” in the controversial deal because of their positions in the Liberal Party.

“The Ombudsman has technically disassociated Roxas and Abaya from the bribery, extortion, fraud and corruption connected to the MRT deals,” Bautista said.

“The Ombudsman does not have the courage to dig deeper into the multi-dimensional issues surrounding the MRT fiasco simply because it goes up from Abaya, Roxas to relatives of the President,” Bautista said.

Bautista said the Ombudsman erred in stopping at Vitangcol and failing to look into other anomalies such as the $30-million extortion, awarding of billion-peso contracts sans bidding, questionable fare subsidy reports, and the unused P4.5 billion MRT fund for expansion that was diverted to the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

“The daily ordeals every train passenger is experiencing are clearly the results of the PH Trams fiasco–but why only Vitangcol?” Bautista said.


TRIBUNE

Noy still trusts Abaya, absolves DoTC chief Written by Joshua L. Labonera Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:00


ABAYA WITH AQUINO

Despite more critics falling in line to question the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to clear Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya from indictments and charges slapped by the Ombudsman over the anomalous maintenance contract for the Metro Railway Transit (MRT), the Palace yesterday reiterated that the embattled official continues to enjoy President Aquino’s trust and confidence, absolving yet another “untouchable” Cabinet secretary from corruption and extortion charges.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also failed to indict and charge Abaya, despite his having signed the questioned contract, saying that Abaya had not yet been at that time, installed as the DoTC chief.

Critics have scored Morales, saying that if such is her reason for excluding Abaya from charges of corruption and extortion, then why was former DoTC chief now the Interior chief, Manuel “Mar” Roxas, not indicted, a criticism which Morales has not bothered to reply as she was obviously protecting yet another important Aquino ally.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, in a Palace briefing on Tuesday, said the President is the best judge on whether Abaya has left a legacy of “failure,” as critics say, on the situation of the mass transit system, but skirted around charges of yet another case of selective justice.

“Let us leave to the President the decision on that, since members of the Cabinet continue to serve as he continues to trust them,” he said, even as Coloma had already stated that Abaya continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of Aquino, which is a presidential absolution.

READ MORE...

The Palace official also sidestepped the query on the Aquino administration embracing selective justice, as questions were raised from the Ombudsman’s decision to spare Abaya from liability over the controversial maintenance contract between the DoTC and PH Trams.

“Our hopes continue that the law must prevail, and that we follow the process of the law. If there are reported anomalies, (they are) studied, and raising issues should be based on concrete evidence. The officials of the government are accountable to the Filipino people,” Coloma said, with a straight face.

Ombudsman Morales ordered in a 39-page resolution the filing of graft charges against MRT-3 general manager Al Vitangcol III and five officials of PH Trams over the controversy.

Abaya, who was also probed by the state-prosecutor, was not among those with recommended charges, under the notion that he was new on the job at the time, succeeding only former DoTC Secretary Roxas.

Roxas, who also stands as the putative standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP), a political party chaired by Aquino, the now Interior Secretary has been apparently absolved from the controversy as no mention of his involvement was made in the Ombudsman’s decision despite the anomaly happening under his helm.

Militant groups have questioned this decision of the Ombudsman, following the doubts raised by several lawmakers as well.

Vitangcol, for his part, plans to challenge the Ombudsman’s decision to charge him over the alleged irregularities in the MRT-3 maintenance contract. He said he felt singled out and raised the fact that it was only he and five others who were indicted.

The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has also been quick in doubting the decision of the state-prosecutor, saying that it serves as proof that the current administration’s anti-corruption program is a program that, in reality involves the persecution of political opponents and protection at all cost of political allies.

It said Vitangcol was used as a stool pigeon to obscure the facts and insulate Roxas and transportation chief Abaya from the deep mess they made in the MRT3.


MANILA BULLETIN

MRT gen. manager accuses ombudsman of selective justice by Jun Ramirez July 8, 2015 (updated) Share0 Tweet4 Share0 Email2 Share


MRT GENERAL MANAGER Al Vitangcol Manila Bulletin, mb.com.ph

Militant group Bayan Muna is demanding the resignation of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) general manager Al Vitangcol.

Former Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) general manager cried foul over the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) charging him with graft and absolving other top officials of the Department of Transportaton and Communications (DOTC) who approved the alleged MRT-3 maintenance contract anomaly.

In a motion for reconsideration (MR) filed before the OMB, Vitangcol sought the revesal of the decision issued last month and questioned why DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aabaya was excluded in the criminal complaint

According to Vitangol , even Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla should be held liable if the Ombudsman believes that the deal was irregularly awarded to the joint venture of PH Trams-CB&T.

READ MORE...

He said anti-graft investigators committed a “grievous error” when it ruled that only him should be held liable for allegedly entering into a contract that is allegedly disadvantageous to the government.

Vitangcol’s MR stated that “he does not have the power or the authority to dictate or influence the decision of any officer involved in the task of selecting the maintenance service provider for the MRT-3. He does not have any power or authority to influence the decisions of the DOTC or the MRT Corporation (MRTC).”

He said he cannot influence the decision of Abaya, the bids and awards committee (BAC), and the negotiating team in the railway system maintenance contract.

He said OMB investigators did not even say why and how he did it, stressing that it is DOTC responsibility to procure services for technical maintenance of MRT-3.

--------------------------------------------

RELATED NEWS FROM PHILSTAR

Ombudsman indicts ex-MRT exec over maintenance deal By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated July 3, 2015 - 4:07pm 0 343 googleplus0 0


Al Vitangcol III resigned from his post as Metro Rail Transit Line 3 general manager after being implicated in the alleged anomalous maintenance contract.

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) General Manager Al Vitangcol III for graft in connection with the train's alleged anomalous interim maintenance contract.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also indicted Wilson De Vera, Marlo Dela Cruz, Manolo Maralit, Federico Remo and Vitangcol’s uncle-in-law, Arturo Soriano, all incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams).

Soriano is also currently the provincial accountant of Pangasinan.

In a 39-page resolution, the Ombudsman ruled that Vitangcol used his power and authority as general manager, head of the negotiating team, member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), "to dictate the proponents invited for the preliminary negotiations" of the maintenance services and "intentionally hid his [affinitive] relationship with Soriano, which would have automatically disqualified PH Trams."

The resolution also ruled the PH Trams officials were equally held liable for executing a false Affidavit of Disclosure dated Aug. 12, 2012, saying that none of the incorporators are related by affinity with any member of the procurement teams.

It found unavailing Soriano’s claim that he divested his interest on Sept. 10, 2012, as such waiver was not recorded in the Securities and Exchange Commission and ran contrary to Soriano’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth declaring that he obtained an interest as a stockholder of PH Trams in November 2012.

A maintenance agreement was entered into in December 1997 between MRT Corp. (MRTC) and Sumitomo Corp. for the safe and proper operations of the trains, including the provision for labor and supervision.

The original maintenance agreement between MRTC and Sumitomo expired on June 21, 2010 and had undergone four extensions from June 2010 until October 2012.

Fifteen days prior to the expiration of the last extension, the BAC adopted a resolution to undertake the procurement of an interim maintenance provider for six months and negotiate its terms and conditions.

The negotiating team recommended that the project be awarded to PH Trams-CB&T joint venture in the amount of $1.15 million monthly.

On Oct. 20, 2012, the project was awarded to PH Trams - CB&T and was renewed three times until Sept. 4, 2013.


TRIBUNE

Palace defends allies, fires back at Vitangcol Written by Joshua L. Labonera Friday, 10 July 2015 00:00


VITANGCOL

Malacañang yesterday immediately came to the administration allies’ defense after former Metro Railway Transit (MRT) general manager Alan Vitangcol questioned Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ move to pin him down in order to shield Liberal Party (LP) members from being indicted for graft in connection with the alleged anomalous maintenance contract entered into by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) with the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp (PH Trams).

Vitangcol came out firing following the acquittal of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya and Undersecretary Jose Lotilla by the Ombudsman in the MRT anomaly.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., at a press briefing, dared Vitangcol to file a complaint before the Ombudsman, stressing the former MRT general manager has the right to issue additional information on the case and if thinks that he’s being treated unfairly.

The Palace official also maintained that Malacañang has nothing to do with the Ombudsman’s recent action.

“The best thing to do is for him to consult his position to the Office of the Ombudsman since he has the right to file additional information and motion for reconsideration. The executive has nothing to do with the issues against him,” Coloma said.

READ MORE...

Vitangcol noted that there was selective justice on the part of the Ombudsman regarding the filing of graft charges against him, stressing both Abaya and Lotilla should be held liable as well, being the final approving authority.

The embattled former MRT-3 official held a press conference a week after Ombudsman Morales directed the indictment for graft of Vitangcol and other officials over the multibillion-dollar maintenance contract.

He claimed that he was surprised Abaya and Lotilla were excluded from the list, as he filed a motion for reconsideration before the state prosecutor’s office to reverse its initial order, noting that he is being singled out on the issue while top officials are being shielded.

Abaya sits as acting president of the LP, where President Aquino serves as its chairman.

Now Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the putative standard-bearer of the ruling party in the 2016 elections, was still the Transportation secretary when the MRT 3 maintenance contract was forged with PH Trams.

Lawyer JV Bautista, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), had earlier said the decision of the Ombudsman to file criminal charges only against Vitangcol is “patently a smokescreen to obscure the facts and insulate” Roxas and Abaya, both Liberal Party stalwarts, “from the deep mess they made in the MRT3.”

Aside from Vitangcol, the Ombudsman also filed graft charges against Arturo Soriano, Wilson de Vera, Marlo dela Cruz, Manalo Maralit and Federico Remo.


MANILA TIMES OPINION
TIME TO COME TO THE AID OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES

Fragmented into self-interested factions, they are unable to lead nation forward by JUAN T. GATBONTON, EDITORIAL CONSULTANT July 11, 2015 10:41 pm


SOURCED BY PHNO: IMAGE COURTESY OF http://www.headlinegl.com/divisive-politics/

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Legendary and veteran journalist Juan T. Gatbonton has the distinction of winning the first Palanca Award for his book 'Clay' in 1951. Another story of his won again later. He has written and edited several books on Philippine art and culture.]

MANILA TIMES, JULY 11,, 2051 --The experts prescribe for our dysfunctional politics our need to create cohesive electoral parties focused on policy instead of “pork.” But to do so is to go against the global trend. Political parties everywhere are fragmenting under the impact of the revolution in information and communication technology.

Elections are less and less debates about political beliefs and public policies, and more and more naked struggles for power and its perks. And the most successful politicians are those best able to reach out to voters with personal narratives closest to everyday people’s felt needs and life expectations.

In our country, political fragmentation has gone so far that our party system has become a negative model for the new democracies.

German analysts—surveying Asian and Latin American party systems—say the Philippines has arguably the most “weakly rooted” and most “poorly institutionalized” parties. (Thailand they rank second.)

Factions rule

Not parties based on common principles but factions based on common interests have long been the active elements in our party system.

The Spaniards and the Americans in turn staffed their colonial governments with the tiny elite they found dominating the archipelago’s warring chiefdoms.

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Historically, the municipal factions these “big men” led, rather than national parties formed by professional politicians, have been the immediate objects of political loyalty. Until now more voters turn out for off-year, rather than for national, elections.

As early as 1642, the Spaniards began holding nominating conventions for municipal offices—the capitan municipal, his deputy and the various supervisors of taxes, fields, livestock, schools and public order. (From local nominees, Manila made the final choice.) Over these offices, elites fought as avidly as they contested precedence in the municipality’s every other social activity.

What were the Spanish-time factions competing about? Much the same perks of political infuence that today’s factions fight over: control of appointments, exemption from state impositions such as forced labor; preferences for their businesses; access to local graft.

Under American rule, the town elites adapted easily to electoral democracy as a relatively peaceful way of resolving their rivalries—though local elections until now feature episodes of bloodshed.

Fickle loyalty

Factional loyalties easily overpower the attractions of good government, platforms and issues. A 2010 study by the National Statistical Coordinating Board concluded that Filipino voters do not choose their local leaders on the basis of good government, platform or issues: “Good governance is not sufficient for a governor to win; neither is bad performance sufficient for a governor to lose.”

The anthropologist Lee Junker (1999) notes that “[p]olitical allegiance is volatile, since it is given only to the leader immediately above an individual with whom he has personal ties of reciprocity….”

But for as long as the ties of patronage and deference are strongly rooted locally, they can evoke prodigies of loyalty. One politician famously won two congressional terms—while serving a jail sentence for raping a nine-year-old child.

Political dynasties

Predictably, the turn toward populism has generated political dynasties. The enormously popular clan headed by the action-movie hero, Joseph “Erap” Estrada—patriarch, wife, son, daughter, mistress and illegitimate son—has been in power in San Juan City, Metro Manila, since 1968. Estrada has also been senator and President; currently he is mayor of Manila.

By keeping political offices in the family, the dynasty frustrates set term limits—and proves Robert Louis Stevenson (1883) right in asserting that “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no experience is thought necessary.”

As another election year impends, “instant parties” grouped around charismatic politicians and political bosses continue to multiply. Fully 15 “parties” are represented in the 229-member Lower House elected in 2010, apart from 56 “party-list” lawmakers chosen by designated “under-represented sectoral groups.”

Authoritarian transition

In the post-colonial period, the two-party system was starting to take hold, encouraged by an electoral subsidy for the mainstream parties.

The “Nacionalistas” and “Liberals” were beginning to divide ideologically on the issues of wartime collaboration, economic nationalism and Philippine-American relations. Meanwhile the municipal factions were evolving into conventional party chapters on the western model.

But in the tumultuous 1970s factional rivalries played out nationally overwhelmed electoral politics and set off an authoritarian transition (1972-86). And, in its haste to restore democratic processes, the 1987 Constitution abetted our factional tendency where it should have encouraged the consolidation of political power.

New political direction

Written in the post-martial-law era, the 1987 Charter sets a new political direction. It enshrined the concept of a “free and open party system,” in an effort to induce the CPP-NPA rebelsto give up their “people’s war” strategy and enter electoral politics.

Roused by the global student rebellions of the 1970s, the rebels had gained ground under martial rule. But they lost public favor when they opposed the peaceful “people power” uprising that brought down the strongman regime in February 1986.

Half-heartedly, the dissidents did put up candidates in the May 1987 general elections. But their ephemeral “Nation’s Party” won few district representatives and elected none of its senatorial nominees—confirming to the die-hard cadres their founding belief that “the electoral arena is not an alternative to the armed struggle.”

No partyless democracy

Since Independence, our civic energies have been focused on the question of corruption. But corruption is merely a symptom of the incoherence of our public life.

Our political processes we still conduct as in the old face-to-face society. But “party-less democracy” cannot work in political communities of modern scale.

Representative democracy cannot work without strong parties to represent the varieties of electoral opinion on national questions.

In my view, we have no civic duty as urgent as our need to build a sturdy party system. (That strong parties—mindful of their corporate reputations—restrain political corruption is a side benefit.)

But if representative government is to work, the political groupings that translate into practice the idea of majority rule should stop being factions and start becoming parties.

Because reforms are not always institutionalized— established as norms in the political culture—people worry that the next government might reverse the economic and social reforms of these last five years.

And in this fear they’re justified: How often have we heard insiders complain that policy is made by the last person who had a President’s ear?

A sense of the nation

Middle-class Filipinos take pride in the civil liberties they enjoy; but to a great extent Philippine democracy still is permitted only by the broadly equal dispersion of power—which makes it imprudent for any leader or group to try to overpower the others.

And modernization will not be easy, because the interest groups that resist reform are powerful, organized, and focused—while reform’s potential beneficiaries are weak, scattered and distracted.

Our next President must find ways of harnessing Filipino idealism—particularly that of our young people. He must point us toward a national purpose. He must set out a series of national goals that will engage our civic spirit.

Right now, we have no individual, no institution responsible for wider public interests beyond those of the individual and the family.

We as a people need to develop a national ‘vision’—a shared preconception of the national future—and a set of national goals that everyone accepts.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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