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Grace Poe questions Morales’ decision to clear Abaya in graft raps over MRT deal

Senator Grace Poe is curious why Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was spared in the Ombudsman's filing of graft charges over the alleged irregularities in the MRT-3's interim maintenance contract.

"I would like to read the text of the resolution in full to find out the reasons why DOTC Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya was not included despite having allegedly signed the contract presumably with full knowledge of the facts and the applicable law surrounding such anomalous procurement of services," Poe said in a statement Sunday.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday ordered the filing of graft charges against former Metro Rail Transit 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III and five incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation over the deal worth $1.15 million a month.

The Ombudsman, however, did not include Abaya in the list ordered to be charged though he and other DOTC officials were named as among the respondents in the original complaint filed by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office.

Abaya, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), is a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III.

Poe was quick to clarify that she "respects" the decision of Ombudsman Morales, who earlier dared her critics to have her impeached.

"I welcome this indictment by the Ombudsman against Mr. Al Vitangcol and his cohorts on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who suffer the indignity of riding the MRT everyday under such deplorable conditions brought about by their almost heinous criminal indiscretions," she said.

"This should serve as a severe warning to the current MRT administrators to get their acts together and that ineptness prompted by illegal motives shall be dealt with severely," the senator added.

As chairman of committee on public services, Poe led a Senate investigation on the operations and anomalies concerning the MRT-3.  — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/BM, GMA News