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Roque: Pangasinan group behind MRT-3 scandal

The Palace has bared a so-called “Pangasinan group” as being behind the all the anomalies now haunting the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, citing what the whistle-blowers said yesterday.

Roque bared this a day after he said that the government would be pursuing new cases against former officials of the now defunct Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), separate from the plunder charges filed last year.
Roque said the whistleblowers would be referred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
On radio, Roque said the “Pangasinan group” earned kickbacks from the contracts entered into by officials of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) under the administration of former President Aquino.
“We now hold whistleblowers who can disclose how they divided their shares. There’s this certain Pangasinan group,” Roque said.
“Believe it or not, our whistleblowers say that one-third of the total payment from contracts went to the Pangasinan group,” he added.

The kickbacks, Roque figured, were converted into funds for a political kitty.
“And a third allegedly goes to the political machinery and only a third goes to the maintenance of the MRT-3,” Roque said.
“If only one-third is left for the train line itself, it will definitely be in trouble,” he added.
Under Aquino, the transportation secretaries were Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II and Joseph Emilio Abaya who are also top leaders of the Liberal Party (LP).
Roxas was the LP’s standard bearer in the 2016 national polls while Abaya was the party chairman.
Roque said the whistleblowers are preparing and completing their documents before surfacing publicly.
”They just approached me. They will be referred to the NBI. Obviously, because this is a matter that will be investigated in connection with law enforcement, we cannot divulge any further details,” Roque said in a briefing in Palawan.
Calida to take lead
Roque earlier said that President Duterte has assigned Solicitor General Jose Calida to “look further” into the matter.
“There was a decision that cases will be pursued for those behind the miserable performance of MRT-3,” Roque said.
“They are pending complaints for plunder against officials of the previous administration specifically for awarding the maintenance contract to a company with absolutely no track record,” he added.
Roque was referring to Roxas and Abaya.
“This is for the award of the contract to a company with absolutely no track record; a company that was obligated to repair 26 coaches and they only delivered 2; and they even supplied the wrong signaling system,” Roque said.
In the 64-page complaint filed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) before the Office of the Ombudsman, Roxas and Abaya were accused of using the MRT-3 maintenance program as a “cash cow”.
The complaint alleged that Roxas and other Liberal Party stalwarts “eased out” Sumitomo Corp. and “replaced it with their own dummy corporations”.
The complaint noted that a day after Abaya replaced Roxas as DoTC chief, he awarded the P 517.5-million MRT maintenance contract to PH Trams-CB&T.
According to the complaint, this was the start of the “rapid deterioration of MRT’s trains, tracks, signaling, power supply and stations”.

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