Former LRTA administrator pleads not guilty to graft charge » Manila Bulletin News



By Czarina Nicole Ong

Former Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) administrator Melquiades A. Robles on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to his graft charge before the Sandiganbayan Second Division, and the court finally set his pretrial date on September 13.


Robles was earlier accused by graft investigation and prosecution officer Janet C. Cabigas-Vejerano of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act due to the anomalous janitorial deal that the LRTA entered into back in 2009.

Robles and several members of the bids and awards committee were accused of conspiring with one another back on Jan. 5, 2009 and Feb. 17, 2009 and with Lilia S. Diaz and Dennis BN Acorda, private individuals from Joint Venture.

The LRTA officials reportedly paid Joint Venture a total of P3,373,808.51 per month for the services of 321 janitors. However, they only used 219 janitors in the end, therefore modifying the terms of the contract.

This modification caused undue injury to LRTA in the amount of P1,072,615.63 in 2009 alone, according to Cabigas-Vejerano.

Robles earlier filed a motion to quash before the Sandiganbayan, stating that his graft charge is “manifestly false,” since he was no longer a public officer when the underdelivery of the manpower was made.

However, the court denied his motion since he failed to convince them of the error that was committed in issuing probable cause. The court ruled that it would be best to thresh out the issues of Robles’ motion in a full-blown trial.

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