By Joann Santiago
MANILA, June 29 (PNA) — Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Monday the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is ready to answer questions regarding the current plight of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).
“The DOTC will answer all the technical responses,” he said in reply to allegations of Vice President Jejomar Binay who claimed that all the problems currently being experienced by MRT started during the term of former DOTC Head and current Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas.
Binay has issued statements claiming, among other things, that Roxas, being one of the possible standard bearers of the Liberal Party for the 2016 national polls, erred in addressing MRT-related issues during his term in DOTC.
Lacierda stressed that the current DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya and MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol III had appeared before the Senate Committee hearings to explain the issue.
“Both have responded to all those allegations,” he said, touting Binay, who continues to decline from attending Senate hearings focused on graft and corruption issues in Makati City even during his term as mayor.
“Can you refresh me if Vice President Binay has appeared before the Senate to answer all allegations of corruption against him?,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, Abaya, in a statement, said “MRT-3 issues are technical in nature,” pointing out that “technical issues cannot be solved by political statements.”
He explained that “VP Binay never approached us to convey his comments, recommendations, and solutions to rail issues.”
He said he has “always remained approachable and always kept an open mind for any ideas” but cited that “not once did he (Binay) bother to discuss rail issues with me.”
“Congress has supported DOTC by providing funds to DOTC to do the long overdue repair and rehabilitation. We are procuring all said items,” he said.
Abaya said they have awarded the contract for new rails and replacement for the obsolete elevators.
Also, the prototype train is scheduled to arrive in August this year and the obsolete signaling system is being upgraded.
The DOTC chief said they are also set to replace the month-on-month maintenance provider.
“We shall continue to keep the public informed of updates,” he said.
Abaya also pointed out that DOTC officials continue to attend MRT-related hearings in the Senate and the House of Representatives “to enlighten Congress and our people.”
“We answer questions and explain. We don’t hide,” he added.
He lamented that it is “very unfortunate for a former member of the Presidential family to be having such a mindset and psyche,” citing that “malapit na talaga ang 2016.”
Binay, who has announced his plan to run for president in the 2016 polls, submitted his resignation as member of the Aquino Cabinet on June 22, 2015. (PNA)