Ex-transport chief ‘guilty’

February 06, 2020
Al Vitangcol III
Al Vitangcol III

FORMER Metro Rail Transit (MRT) General Manager Al Vitangcol III was found guilty of graft and violation of the Procurement Law.

The Sandiganbayan sentenced Vitangcol to six to eight years imprisonment and slapped with perpetual absolute disqualification from holding public office.

His co-accused PH Trams incorporator Arturo Soriano was also found guilty of graft and violation of Procurement Law.

In a 45-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the two accused violated particular laws for awarding MRT3’s maintenance contract to an unqualified joint venture, PH Trams and CB&T.

The anti-graft court pointed out that Vitangcol exhibited evident bad faith when he did not disclose that Soriano is his uncle in law — a relationship that disqualifies PH Trams from bidding in the first place.

“This material fact was apparently concealed precisely to prevent the eventual disqualification of PH Trams from negotiating for the interim Maintenance Provider of MRT3,” the decision read.

“Because of this non-disclosure, PH Trams eventually bagged the interim Maintenance Contract from the Department of Transportation and Communications,” it added.

According to Sandiganbayan the sheer magnitude of the tasks and responsibilities of Vitangcol III not only required absolute uprightness and honesty from him but, more importantly, utmost faithfulness to his sworn duty, especially since the subject Contract not only involved a large amount of money but also would greatly affect the safety of the riding public.

It cited the 2009 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Procurement law that explicitly enumerates the officers and employees of the procuring entity that may cause the bidder automatic disqualification, if it failed to disclose such relationship or proven to be related to them.

On the violation of the Procurement Law, both accused were meted out with the same penalties.