Graft cases filed vs Abaya, 3 top DOTC execs

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Monday, May 5, 2014

A CONSUMERS' group filed on Monday a graft case before the Office of the Ombudsman against officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), including Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, for supposedly favoring a bidder for a unified ticketing system project.

Aside from Abaya, the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC) also filed graft charges against DOTC undersecretaries Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco and Catherine Jennifer Gonzales.

Lawyer Oliver San Antonio of the NCFC, said that these officials should explain why they allowed Ayala Land and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), owners of the winning bidder AF consortium, to participate in the bidding process for the P1.7-billion Contactless Automated Fare Collection System (CAFCS) project for the country's mass transport system.

Lotilla chaired the DOTC's Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) while Gonzales and Limcaoco were committee members.

San Antonio said the BAC violated section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the government should nullify the P1.7-billion bid award of the project to protect public interest and the stability of the government’s private-public partnership program.

"These officials conspired with one another in favoring undue benefits and advantage to AF Consortium in connection with CAFCS," he said.

The CAFCS, or the LRT-MRT single ticketing system project, will be used initially on Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2.

San Antonio noted that under DOTC rules, a prospective bidder together with its affiliates or any of its affiliates who holds more than 50-percent of the outstanding voting shares in the concession of LRT Lines 1 and 2 or MRT Line 3 and any bidder who holds an aggregate of more than 33 percent of the outstanding voting shares in the concessionaire is disqualified from the project.

The lawyer also said that Ayala Land owns and operates MRT Corp., the train operator of MRT 3 while Metro Pacific has a pending arbitration case against the Philippine government in Singapore filed in January 2009 for failure to pay equity rental to MRT 3.

"The rules are very clear. No bidder with a pending case before any tribunal or court against government will be allowed to bid," he said, adding that
San Antonio said AF Consortium should be disqualified for having conflict of interest.

San Antonio said that AF consortium supposedly disclosed that Metro Pacific owes 48 percent outstanding shares of stock while Ayala Land owns about 19 percent, which is a direct violation of the bidding rules set by the DOTC. (Sunnex)

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