SENATOR Grace Poe called Friday on Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to produce the negotiated contract between the government and the Korean-Filipino consortium that would conduct maintenance operations on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.
Following Abaya's pronouncement that Busan Transportation Corporation, which operates Busan Metro in South Korea, bagged the P3.8 billion maintenance contract, Poe said she wants to scrutinize the agreement.
"It is good that they did not back out if indeed, they are the only one who has the technical know-how. However, we have to review the contract; it is a negotiated contract and yet, we have not aware of the provisions of that contract," Poe said in a radio interview.
"Until now, we are still requesting for the copy of that contract. Many are asking: Is that the original contract or is that revised to make exceptions so the Koreans would not back out?" she added.
Busan Transportation Corporation was earlier reported to be withdrawing from the contract with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) because it allegedly feared facing lawsuits.
The lawsuit stemmed from the controversial 11th hour awarding of the contract to a consortium, including Edison Development and Construction, Tramat Mercantile Incorporated, TMICorp Incorporated, and Castan Corporation.
Of the four firms in the joint venture, only the Korean company was reportedly has the technical know-how in railway maintenance. The consortium took over the maintenance works of the MRT-3's rolling stock and signalling system on January 5.
Poe noted that in previous hearings on the woeful MRT-3 operations last year, her committee had asked for documents from the DOTC but its officials failed to provide the requested pertinent contracts.
When Congress resumes sessions on January 18, Poe said she would immediately schedule a hearing on the MRT maintenance.
The senator, however, expressed frustration that lawmakers can only do so much to correct any failings on the part of national agencies.
"We are just tasked to hear the case (to propose) legislation, (or to make) recommendation. That’s why this kind of situation on which you do not have the authority (to fire negligent officials) is frustrating," Poe said.
Poe earlier called for the dismissal of Abaya from the DOTC but President Benigno Aquino III maintained that Abaya would stay on his post until the end of his term in July. (Sunnex)