Gov’t should decide common MRT-LRT station — Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said it is government who should decide where the common MRT-LRT station should be placed with the interest of the riding public in mind.
“It’s high time that the government – kasi funded ito ng gobyerno, yung gobyerno na po ang magsasabi kung saan yung common station. Pag na-identify yan, may
budget na sa Congress, build it. Ngayon kung may mag question di hayaan mo silang mag question sa kung saang husgado. I’m sure bawal mag TRO in government projects. Ngayon kung may mag file ng contempt, e di i-contempt nila yung gobyerno. Pero hindi dapat naaantala yung proyekto ng gobyerno dahil meron tayong ibang interest na sini-serve (because this is funded by the government, it should be government who will decide where the common station should be. Once identified, build it anyway Congress has already a budget for it. Now if there is anyone who would question government’s decision, let them go to court. I am sure the court won’t stop government projects. Now if anyone wants to cite the government in contempt, go ahead. But the government project should not be stopped because there are other interests being served),” he said.
Public interest “Dapat isasaalang-alang natin na yung riding public eto yung gumagamit nung facility kayat yung interest nila e hindi natin pwedeng isantabi. And I think DOTr it’s high time you start building – with or without a TRO (we should consider primarily the interest of the riding public because they will be the ones who will be using the facility),” he said.
Transportation Assistant Secretary for Rail Cesar Chavez said they have been instructed by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade to let the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) review and approve the common stations.
“Yun common station na nasa interes ng publiko ha? Ibig kong sabihin, nagkaroon ng pagdinig dito yung House of Representatives, na-identify na natin yung common station, yun po ang gusto naming makita na gawin ng gobyerno. Dahil nag-allocate na po tayo ng budget para doon, not yung mga kung anong, kung saang stations dyan (We want to see government build a common station that will serve the interest of the public. That is the reason for the hearings here in the House of Representatives. We already allocated a budget for that project),” Alvarez clarified.
Ethics breach? During the House Committee on Transportation hearing on the P2.8billion common MRT-LRT station project,
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also reminded Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) president and chief-executiveofficer Rogelio Singson to take a second look at the country’s Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees saying the former Public Works Secretary may have violated the law for assuming the top LRMC post.
Alvarez cited Section 7 of the Republic Act No. 6713 where public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not own, control, manage or accept employment as officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee or nominee in any private enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by their office unless expressly allowed by law.
Singson reportedly assumed the top LRMC in October 2016.
“These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of one year after resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except in the case of subparagraph (b) (2) above. So medyo pakitingnan po ninyo baka sakaling may mag-complain,” Alvarez said.
No direct conflict
Singson, who served as DPWH Secretary from 2010 to 2016, said he also studied the law and even consulted the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
“In fact I went to the Civil Service Commission…because I feel that even before this job was offered, can I already work even without the one year, even without the one year lapse, as required under that. And my understanding, based on my consultations with some lawyers provided there is no direct conflict,” he said.
“Definitely from DPWH side I cannot join a construction company. I cannot even, even on my own, …I cannot join. Also I cannot join directly companies that are regulated by DPWH since when I was offered this position, at first as a consultant, and then eventually because the former president of LMRC was insisting on retiring, they asked me if there would be possibility for me to go into….So I did check with the Civil Service and they said walang direct conflict. Then there should be no problem,” he further explained.
Singson said based on his understanding, the penalty provisions of that particular restriction – will apply if and when he goes back to government.
“But as I said, you’re the framers of the law. Maybe further clarification of that particular restriction maybe in order,” he said.
“But as far as I’m concerned. I hope I’m clear about my intention here. I’ve been…having been in government, in the DPWH, is helping me try to move our country forward. That’s my only intention here,” he said.
House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said they “will study” if RA 6713 has been violated after Singson assumed as president and CEO of the LMRC after his DPWH stint.
“I would defer to Majority leader, if you feel there is violation, I will resign,” Singson said.
Alvarez even reminded the Department of Transportation to pursue projects in the interest of the public and not of the private sector.