Busan files graft vs DOTr officials
Busan Universal Rail Inc., the maintenance contractor of Metro Rail Transit Line 3, filed graft and administrative complaints against several executives of the Department of Transportation before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The complaint named Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, DOTr senior technical assistant Hernando Cabrera and Jorgette Bellen, program head of Uici-Seoul Metro-Dong-IL-JF Cancio Joint Venture Program.
Busan alleged in its complaint that Chavez conspired with Cabrera and Bellen to deliberately delay the payment of the maintenance provider’s monthly billings.
Busan claimed that unpaid billings reached P176 million for services already rendered to the DOTr-MRT3 for the maintenance component of the contract.
“Respondents’ concerted acts, geared towards both imposing deductions not founded in the contract and delaying payment of BURI’s monthly billings and billing for overhauled LRVs, smacks of utter bad faith,” Busan said.
“Respondents’ concerted acts have wrought damage and prejudice to BURI, which had been deprived of payments due it under the contract, which it could have used to further improve its services as maintenance provider for the MRT3 system,” it said.
Sought for comment, Chavez said, “My decision to withhold payment is precisely to protect public funds, hence, antithesis to graft.”
“How can I be charged of graft when I am only protecting public funds?” Chavez asked.
Busan said it brought to the attention of DOTr-MRT3 the system and design issues that existed during Sumitomo’s tenure as service provider, which were allegedly kept hidden from the public until the new maintenance provider took over.
Busan earlier urged the Transportation Department to investigate why technical glitches and service interruptions continued to persist despite proper maintenance of the line.
Busan pushed for the conduct of a technical probe “to confirm that the MRT3 design flaws are the primary reason for the recurring service interruptions of the system.”
The service provider said that during the first year of MRT3 operations in 2000 when all the trains were brand new, the system recorded a total of 1,492 glitches. The number of glitches reached 1,927 in 2008 and 2,199 in 2009.
Busan said the original system flaws were compounded by overloading and excessive vibrations and poor track condition, resulting in the continuing occurrence of glitches and stoppages.
Busan said despite these recurring problems, it successfully minimized the occurrence of glitches to 992 as of mid-June in 2017 from 2,776 in 2015.