By Martin Sadongdong
Former president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III today broke his silence and answered the issues hurled against his previous cabinet involving the MRT-3 maintenance contract mess after the mass held in commemoration of the 85th birthday of his father, the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
Aquino said the problems hounding the MRT-3 should be blamed on his predecessor, former president and now Pampanga second district Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and not to him.
“Ang tanda ko dapat merong overhaul na nangyari sa MRT. Kapag overhaul talagang… hindi churap churap lang. Major yung pag-aayos. Dapat ito kung tama ang tanda ko ay 2008, hindi ginawa yun. Parang malaki na sabihing minor overhaul pero mukhang masasabing halos walang ginawa. So yung life span na dapat inabot ng MRT nabawasan dahil hindi ginawa yung overhaul (If I remember it right, an overhaul should have been conducted in MRT. When you say overhaul, it really is a big (change) and not piece-meal. There are major adjustments. It should have been conducted in 2008 but it never happened. It is big enough to say that a minor overhaul happened but it seems that nothing really was done to make it better. So the lifespan of the MRT was diminished because the overhaul was not done (by the Arroyo administration),” Aquino explained.
Further, Aquino said the contract of the maintenance provider, Sumitomo Corporation, had already expired in June 2010 before he assumed the presidency.
“Tapos dumating ‘yung punto na sinabi ni Sumitomo ‘alam niyo sobra ang paggamit niyo dito sa MRT, luma na yung signaling equipment niyo etcetera so kung tutuloy namin yung maintenance niyo kailangan namin taasan yung presyo at pagtapos taasan yung presyo dahil sobra-sobra yung paggamit niyo, hindi na rin namin kayo bibigyan ng warranty (Then it came to a point that Sumitomo said, ‘you know the MRT was overused, the signaling system was already old etcetera so if we are about to continue the maintenance operations, we have to raise the price involved and since you overused the MRT, we will no longer give you a warranty),” he added.
Aquino said he did not favor the conditions given by Sumitomo Corporation, which led to the signing of a new contract favoring PH Trams-CB&T Joint Venture.
It can be recalled that 13 former executives of the Aquino administration were charged with plunder cases before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the replacement of the MRT-3’s signaling system and for the contract with BURI to do the general overhaul of the light rail vehicles (LRVs).
Aquino also did not believe that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno failed a psychological test. He said he had not read any documents about it when the search for the position vacated by impeached chief justice Renato Corona was ongoing.
Meanwhile, the mass for Ninoy’s birthday was attended by his children Noynoy, Ballsy, Pinky and Viel; relatives, close family friends and supporters.
Wreaths from the Liberal Party (LP), Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada were among those sent to the grave of Ninoy.
Tags: 85th birthday, Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr., Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, maintenance, Manila Bulletin, Manila Memorial Park, minor overhaul, Ninoy’s 85th birthday commemorated; ‘Noynoy’ answers issues hurled at him, Noynoy Aquino, Sumitomo Corporation
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