The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has filed a plunder complaint against nine former Cabinet officials who served under former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the alleged anomalous contract for the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3).
Leading the list of respondents in the complaint filed by the DOTr before the Office of the Ombudsman Tuesday (November 21) were former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and former Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
In its 67-page complaint, the DOTr accused Abaya and Roxas, his successor at the DOTC, of using the MRT as a “bottomless cash cow” to amass ill-gotten wealth.
“Using the MRT3 project as a fundraiser, respondent Roxas and Abaya set into motion a grand scheme of turning the DOTC as a bottomless cash cow, entering into one anomalous procurement project after the other, in order to amass, accumulate and acquire ill-gotten wealth by taking advantage of their official position, authority, and influence to unjustly enrich themselves,” the complaint read.
DOTr Undersecretary Reinier Yebra said they are considering Roxas and Abaya as the “main plunderers” in the case.
Under the law, any public officer who amassed or acquired ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P50 million is guilty of plunder.
The DOTr’s complaint stemmed from the then-DOTC’s choice of Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) as the maintenance provider for the MRT-3.
The DOTC paid BURI P54 million monthly despite its poor performance and failure to meet contract obligations, the DOTr said.
In addition to Abaya and Roxas, the other former Cabinet officials named as respondents in the plunder complaint were: Former Budget and Management secretary Florencio Abad, former Finance secretary Cesar Purisima, former Energy secretary Jericho Petilla, former Science and Technology chief Mario Montejo, former Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Public Works and Highways secretary Rogelio Singson, and former National Development and Economic Administration secretary Arsenio Balisacan.