MANILA (Mabuhay)– Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares may summon the president’s sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino Cruz to a planned House of Representatives investigation into the alleged extortion allegation involving the purchase of MRT trains from a Czech company.
Colmenares said that while the President’s sister is not among those he wants probed, he may ask that Mrs. Aquino-Cruz be summoned if her name comes up in the course of the investigation.
“Actually ang unang ipapatawag siyempre yung ambassador na nagcomplain. Yung members ng MRT board. I have to be frank – pinaresearch ko sa staff ko ano link ni Ballsy, di ma-pinpoint. It didn’t name her in resolution but the moment (she is) mentioned by the ambassador, we will be forced to call whether or not from Malacañang or outside doesn’t matter. If anyone is involved in alleged extortion scam, the committee will call,” he said.
Bayan Muna has filed House Resolution 112 seeking a congressional investigation on the allegation of extortion.
According to Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar, officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications asked executives of the Inekon Group for $30 million to bag the contract to supply trains for the Metro Rail Transit-3.
He said Inekon had been blacklisted for refusing to give in to the bribe demand in July last year.
The resolution pointed out that Al Vitangcol III who is the head of the MRT went on leave amid the controversy, right after the State of the Nation Address.
Bayan Muna said DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya issued a statement denying allegations that Inekon has been blacklisted. It said the DOTC is set to review the terms of reference of the bidding.
MRT is in the process of buying trains to address passenger congestion problems.
A P3.77-billion contract was auctioned off on June 11, 2013, aimed at adding 48 train cars to the Metro Rail Transit-3’s existing 73-car fleet.
The state-owned Chinese firm, Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. CNR Group, which bid P3.76 billion, is now under “post-qualification” after meeting all eligibility requirements.
Another Chinese firm, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd., was disqualified while three other groups, including Inekon and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp., reportedly did not submit their bids.
Malacanang previously dismissed the allegations involving the President’s sister as murky. (MNS)