Manila Bulletin

Gov’t should de­cide com­mon MRT-LRT sta­tion — Al­varez

- By CHARISSA M. LUCI Politics · Pantaleon Alvarez · Nigeria · Namibia · Saudi Arabia · Macao · Cesar Chavez · Congress of the United States · Manila · Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways · Civil Service Commission · United States Department of Transportation

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.

 ??  ?? CON­FLICT OF IN­TER­EST? – For­mer Pub­lic Works and High­ways Sec­re­tary and now-Light Rail Manila Cor­po­ra­tion Pres­i­dent Ro­ge­lio Sing­son (left) ar­rives at the Roo­sevelt Sta­tion of Light Rail­way Tran­sit (LRT) Line 1 Wed­nes­day, on his way to the pro­posed site...
CON­FLICT OF IN­TER­EST? – For­mer Pub­lic Works and High­ways Sec­re­tary and now-Light Rail Manila Cor­po­ra­tion Pres­i­dent Ro­ge­lio Sing­son (left) ar­rives at the Roo­sevelt Sta­tion of Light Rail­way Tran­sit (LRT) Line 1 Wed­nes­day, on his way to the pro­posed site...

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