Palace defends Abaya from Poe tirades

MANILA – Having Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya sued for alleged irregularities in the MRT-3 maintenance contract – as Sen. Grace Poe has declared – will not solve the problem hounding the mass transit system.

This was according to Malacañang, which defended Abaya while expressing hope the senator would realize “upon mature reflection” that the transport chief had been transparent in all his dealings concerning the MRT-3.

“So we are hoping that, out of her sense of frustration that is really felt also by a lot of people, Senator Poe will realize that
filing of cases is not the solution, but understanding and support for reforms and changes that we are undertaking,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said over radio dzRB.

The Senate subcommittee on public services chaired by Poe is preparing an initial committee report on its inquiry into the failure of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to provide better services for commuters of MRT-3.

Poe said Abaya is “the beginning and end of the anomalies” in the signing of the P3.81-billion MRT-3 maintenance contract since he signed and approved it.

“I am a little bit surprised that he doesn’t have liabilities whatsoever,” she said.

Her panel is set to come out with a list of names, including that of Abaya, to recommend for prosecution.

Abaya is the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, whose standard bearer is Manuel Roxas II.
“All of us are not happy over the delay in the reforms and improvement of services that we really need (in MRT-3). But the reason for this is because there are really a lot of people in high places that get run over by the reforms and changes that are needed for one system like the LRT (Light Rail System) and MRT that are really beyond capacity,” Quezon said.

He added previous contracts were not fair to the public.

Poe, he said, should also look into the situation in aid of legislation and consider measures that could address the situation, “and she could ask for more information,” Quezon added.

He said the senator should simply pinpoint specific problems and propose or craft measures to help resolve them.