Who is Al Vitangcol III?
He’s the former general manager of MRT3.
Who is Arturo Soriano?
Arturo Soriano is the uncle-in-law of MRT3 General Manager Al Vitangcol.
Arturo Soriano is also one of the incorporators of PH Trams.
What is PH Trams & CBT?
Because of the pullout of the Sobrepeña group from complying with its obligations to maintain the MRT system, the gov’t had to find a replacement. Obviously, a train system cannot run without maintenance.
Enter PH Trams & CB&T, a joint venture, which won the bid to maintain the MRT. And this is where the story of Al Vitangcol begins.
Insofar as the issue affects Mar Roxas as DOTC Secretary, we can neatly divide the issue into two parts.
According to Sobrepeña, the “prudent thing” for Mar to do was to disqualify PH Trams outright because ‘it was a newly formed company, undercapitalized and with no experience.’
It would be criminal for PH Trams to win the bid because of Vitangcol’s relationship to Soriano. Vitangcol implicated former DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas and the incumbent DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya after the Ombudsman went after him.
An Inquirer article (Dec. 6, 2015), headlined with “Poe disappointed after Ombudsman spared Abaya of graft charges“, reads as follows:
Since Secretary Abaya signed and approved the contract, I am a little bit surprised that he doesn’t have liabilities whatsoever.
x x x While disappointed in the exclusion of Abaya and other officials, the presidential preference poll frontrunner still praised the Ombudsman for filing graft charges against former MRT 3 general manager Al Vitangcol III and five other officials for an anomalous maintenance contract worth $1.5 million per month.
I thank the Ombudsman for siding with the 600,000 daily commuters of the MRT who continue to suffer and endure bad service. We will monitor the progress of the case until justice is served.
During the Cebu leg of the COMELEC debates (Mar. 20, 2016), Vice-President Binay revived the issue of Vitangcol and Mar, to wit:
Binay: Mr. Roxas, tinuturo ka ni Mr. Vitangcol nagnakaw ka dun sa MRT, ano ba?
Roxas: Hindi po totoo yan. x x x Wala pong kinalaman si Mar Roxas sa kahit anong katiwalian na naganap dyan sa MRT na yan. Ang importante ay malaman natin ang katotohanan: si Mr. Vitangcol ay natanggal sa pwesto dahil tiyo niya ang kabahagi ng mga nag-bid dyan sa mga kontrata. Habang siya [si Vitangcol] ay nanungkulan sa MRT.
Countering the Issues
The engagement of DOTC was with a joint venture, not just PH Trams.
The issue that PH Trams is “a newly formed company, undercapitalized and with no experience” can be easily countered.
- It was not solely PH Trams involved in the contract.
- The winning bidder was a joint venture of PH Trams & CB&T.
- CB&T is the longtime maintenance provider of the LRT-1 system.
According to one article:
CB&T (Comm Builders and Technology Corp.) has been in construction, maintenance, and repair of airfields, piers, and railways since 2003. It reported paid-up capital of P9 million and assets of P145,569,553 in Mar. 2013.
The accusation that Mar is involved in any wrongdoing is baseless.
The Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, whose integrity is beyond reproach, has so far fought the pillars of the old regime with great success.
- She testified against Chief Justice Renato Corona during the latter’s impeachment trial. Morales submitted to the impeachment court a copy of a 17-page report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) detailing a total of 705 transactions on Corona’s alleged $10 million in deposits.
- She led the Ombudsman in finding probable cause against the Vice-President, his son and co-conspirators in connection with the bidding and construction of the Makati carpark building.
- She was the person responsible for putting Napoles, Enrile, Estrada, & Revilla behind bars. By filing plunder raps, she has ensured that the persons responsible do not get the benefit of bail.
- She has gone after allies of the Liberal Party – two governors even – for anomalous transactions: Capiz Gov. Tanco and Camarines Norte Gov. Tallado.
- Quezon City officials Roderick Paulate and Francisco Calalay Jr. were dismissed by the Ombudsman over ghost employees in the payroll of the city council.
The Ombudsman is an institution by herself. Beholden to no one. If she were to find evidence against Mar of any wrongdoing, should it be stealing P5.00 or P500M, we do not doubt that she would go after him, fighting tooth and nail.
Quoting from the Inquirer, this was what the Ombudsman found:
Vitangcol used his powers and authority as general manager, chief end-user, head of the negotiating team, and member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), all at the same time, “to dictate the proponents invited for the preliminary negotiations” of the maintenance services.
Vitangcol also “intentionally hid his [affinitive] relationship with Soriano, which would have automatically disqualified PH Trams.”
The fact that she found nothing to implicate the Secretaries of the DOTC speaks volumes.
Should you know the job of administering justice better than a former Justice of the Supreme Court and a known fighter of corruption, then please say so.
What is clear is that Al Vitangcol deliberately used his position to influence and award a maintenance contract to PH Trams-CB&T (joint venture) when there was a clear conflict of interest as he was related to Arturo Soriano, one of the incorporators of PH Trams. All of this happened after Mar’s time in DOTC.