Former Philippine officials face plunder case in anti-graft court

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/22 2:03:59

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) of the Philippines filed plunder charges on Tuesday against nine cabinet members of former President Benigno Aquino who were involved in the alleged anomalous train maintenance service contract worth 3.8 billion pesos (74.9 million US dollars).

DOTr representatives filed the plunder raps before the Office of the Ombudsman, according to Harry Roque, the spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

"We must stress that the great suffering of the riding public as a result of the failure to deliver on the responsibilities of public office, such as the case of the current state of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) system, carries consequences and that those accountable will be held liable," Roque said.

Those included in the charge sheet include former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Technical glitches mar the MRT-3 almost every single day, resulting in passengers being unloaded in the middle of tracks and disrupting the day-to-day operation.

In September, the Ombudsman affirmed its indictment of former President Aquino for graft and usurpation of authority over his alleged role in the anti-terrorist operation that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the southern Philippine Maguindanao province in 2015.

In July, the Ombudsman ordered the filing of criminal charges against Aquino, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, and former SAF Director Getulio Napenas.

The charges stemmed from an incident that broke out on Jan. 24, 2015 when almost 400 highly trained commandos belonging to the elite SAF unilaterally launched operation "plan exodus" to serve standing warrants of arrest against terrorists in Mamasapano in Maguindanao.

In the ensuing firefight that lasted several hours, 44 SAF troopers were killed in the line of duty.


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