By BENJIE OLIVEROS
It has been 10 months since the Aquino administration stepped down and the Duterte Cabinet took over the reins of government and still, the Filipino people are suffering from the effects of the anomalies of the past. This is best exemplified by the problems people confront at the Department of Transportation and Communications, in general, and the MRT 3 in particular.
It could be remembered that the problems with the MRT 3 began when then Sec. Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya, of the Department of Transportation and Communications, began awarding the maintenance contracts to companies headed by people close to the Liberal Party. This began with the PH Trams CB&T, which was headed by a Liberal Party (LP) financier. PH Trams was replaced by Global Inc., which was represented by the same LP financier.
After receiving a lot of flak for the continuous problems being faced by MRT 3 commuters, the Aquino administration decided to deal with four service providers, each taking on a component of the system.
Lastly before turning over the reins of government, the DOTC entered into a contract with the Busan Universal Rail Inc. Under this maintenance provider, the MRT 3 reportedly experienced 2,619 train removals, i.e. pullouts from daily runs due to glitches; 63 service interruptions or shutdowns due to problems with the coaches, tracks, power supply, and signaling; and 586 incidents of passenger unloading, at times, thrice a day.”
The awarding of the contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc. was reportedly highly irregular with the absence of public bidding and conduct of closed-door meetings. Adding to the Filipino people’s woes is the fact that the 48 train coaches bought from China’s Dalian Locomotive had no signaling system and thus, unsafe and unusable. Former President Benigno Aquino III boasted about the purchase of these train coaches in September 2014, and promised that MRT 3 services would improve a lot.
Because of these anomalies, Sen. Grace Poe has been calling for the jailing of government officials involved, including former Secretary Abaya.
This is the problem when nobody from a previous administration has been held accountable for the anomalies that they committed. It just gets repeated again and again. Even the “daang matuwid” of the previous Aquino administration turned out to be just a cover for the anomalies they themselves were committing then.
When then President Aquino called for the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona and former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, it was purportedly meant to serve the cause of justice by removing all obstacles to holding former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials to account for the corruption cases they were allegedly involved in.
As it turned out now, it was meant to protect Aquino and his officials from being held accountable for the corruption cases they themselves committed.
Instead of focusing its energies on the impeachment cases, Congress and the Duterte administration and its allies could do the Filipino people a great service by focusing on running after the Aquino administration for the corruption they committed, the effects of which we are still suffering from up to now.