MRT general manager relieved

Posted at 05/26/14 7:25 PM

MRT general manager Al Vitangcol

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – The general manager of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Al Vitangcol III has been relieved of his duties following allegations that he awarded a contract to a relative in 2012.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya said he issued a special order on Monday relieving Vitangcol and assigning Light Rail Transit general manager Honorito Chaneco as officer-in-charge (OIC) while investigations into the allegations are ongoing.

Abaya said, after Vitangcol was relieved, the MRT chief resigned.

“Our initial action was he was relieved, kaya may OIC. Upon further development during the day, he sent the message that he plans to resign,” he told dzMM.

The allegations, which were reported by The Philippine Star, stated that Vitangcol, in his capacity as MRT general manager, awarded a P517 million maintenance contract to a joint venture between PH Trams and CB&T in October 2012.

Vitangcol’s uncle-in-law, Arturo Soriano, is one of six incorporators-directors of PH Trams.

“Malinaw sa amin na may existing contract, malinaw sa procurement rules na dapat may declaration if indeed may conflict of interest that do exist,” said Abaya.

In his resignation letter addressed to President Aquino, Vitangcol said his resignation is not an admission of guilt.

“I maintain my innocence of any and all allegations that are hurled against me. I have done nothing wrong or improper,” he said in his letter.

Vitangcol said he is resigning “to insulate the Department and the appointing authorities from these issues.”

Vitangcol has also been linked to an extortion case involving Czech train builder Inekon.

Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar had accused Vitangcol of demanding $30 million from Inekon in exchange for a contract to supply new train coaches for the MRT.

Vitangcol has denied Rychtar's allegations. -- Reports from Alvin Elchico and Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News