Vitangcol willing to name names in MRT-3 mess

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2018 03:21 PM

MANILA - Former Metro Rail Transit General Manager Al Vitangcol on Thursday said he is willing to name names of certain people allegedly involved in corruption in the MRT-3 in exchange for legislative immunity from suit.

Vitangcol, who is facing two counts of graft and one count of violation of the Procurement Law in connection with the allegedly anomalous PH Trams maintenance contract, said he has long wanted to reveal what he knows but has been prevented from doing so.

"Kung ito ay proper body, let's say a proper Senate hearing, tapos tinanong sa akin sasabihin ko: Ito pong si Mr. A ay magnanakaw -- but give me first an immunity bago ko sabihin yan. Lahat ng sasabihin ko during that particular forum walang pwedeng magkaso," he said.

Vitangcol claimed a major party in the previous administration received pay-offs from penalties imposed on the MRT maintenance provider at that time.

"During my time, kapag ang number of trains ay bumaba sa 18, pine-penalize namin yan. Every month, we deduct from the P50 plus million maintenance fee itong penalty...At that time palagi nila sinasabi sa akin, 'Sir, puwede po ba wag niyo na kami bawasan ng penalty kasi po magbibigay pa po kami sa partido,'" he said.

"Magkano bibigay nila sa partido palagi nila sinasabi, 'Sir, kapag nag-penalty pa kayo, kulang na yung bigay namin na P5-million sa partido'...Meron bang plunder? Kasi kung P5 million yan, in a span of 1 year that will be more than P50 million, papasok sa plunder yan," he added.

"I would assume, assumption ko lang, since ito nung datung administration, we assume it is the major political party at that time."

Vitangcol also said he is suspicious about reports of 2 whistleblowers who are going to testify against transportation officials of the previous administration.

He warned that the 2 alleged whistleblowers could put up a smokescreen to divert attention away from those who are culpable for the mess in the MRT-3.

"Unang reaction ko doon, who are these 2 people? Kung ma-identify ito, ano ang agenda nila? Totoo ba itong mga ito? Kasi puwedeng baka ito isang smokescreen to cover something..." he said.

"Kasi alam naman natin ang patakbo ng mga dating opisyal ng DOTC, palaging ganiyan na passing the blame to somebody else. Itong 2 whistleblower na ito pakawala ba ito ng mga dating opisyal ng DOTC o ito ba ay legitimate whistleblowers?"

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the whistleblowers claim that a certain "Pangasinan Group" and several politicians pocketed two-thirds of the payment given to the MRT’s former maintenance provider, Filipino-Korean consortium Busan Universal Rail Inc.

In the interview, Vitangcol said there is a "concerted effort" to stop him from revealing all he knows about corruption during the past administration.

"Lahat ng sinabi ko, lahat ng pinalabas ko ay itinago po ito at walang nangyari, pero lahat po ito ay dokumentado...Even during the MRT-3 hearing conducted by the Senate as chaired by Senator Grace Poe, binigyan ko po siya ng kopya ng isang affidavit na nagsasaad kung anu-ano ang mga alam ko na nangyari sa MRT-3. Ito po ba ay lumabas sa publiko? Hindi ito lumabas sa publiko," he added.

Vitangcol said he was willing to testify, but when he attended hearings at the House of Representatives and the Senate, he was not allowed to speak.

"Ayaw ako pagsalitain. Sasabihin teka muna, just answer the question. Hinintay ko yung tanong, di naman dumarating yung tanong. Ang mga tanong kung ano lang yung gusto nila marinig na sagutin," he said.