'Case vs Chavez just harassment'
A LAWMAKER said Friday the graft charges filed by Busan Universal Rail Inc. or BURI against Transportation Undersecretary for railways Cesar Chavez was a simple harassment case and a desperate attempt to save their anomalous P3.8-billion maintenance service contract for the MRT3.
Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said BURI’s action should prompt Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade to implement the full termination of the contract.
It should also initiate the filing of plunder charges against BURI management along with former transportation officials who were responsible for the invalid and illegal contract that had cost taxpayers at least P650 Million.
“This action of BURI is clearly a criminal shakedown. It is trying to harass the DOTr with the filing of the graft charges against Undersecretary Chavez,” Nograles said
“The best response is to file plunder cases against BURI because they have collected money from the government on the basis of an invalid contract.”
Nograles said that, along with the filing of plunder charges against BURI and former transport officials, Tugade should not wait any longer in terminating BURI’s service contract as the MRT3 was completely vulnerable to a possible sabotage that could endanger the lives of the commuting public.
“The breakdown of the trust between the government and the service provider now puts the lives of the riding public at risk,” Nograles said.
In lieu of BURI, the DOTr can temporarily tap the services of the maintenance service provide of Light Rail Transit Authority, “which has been doing a pretty decent job in maintaining the LRT system” and immediately schedule a bid for its new maintenance service provider.
Just last week, Nograles said MRT3 suffered a series of breakdowns in an unprecedented scale, which should have alarmed transport officials.
“Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade should stop procrastinating and immediately terminate the services of BURI. It should also expedite the filing of plunder charges against its officials and the cohorts in the defunct DoTC,” Nograles said.
He said a maintenance transition team should be created to address the immediate procurement of a qualified contractor.
“These repeated breakdowns are getting really worse each day. Just last week, MRT 3 never had a day without any problem. It even suffered three breakdowns in just a single day,” Nograles said.
He said there was no longer any reason for Tugade to delay the termination of BURI’s contract because its decision to file graft charges against Chavez was obviously an act meant to intimidate the DOTr.
Chavez has recommended the termination of BURI’s contract and the withholding of its payment because of non-compliance on the terms of their maintenance service agreement.