The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has ordered the replacement of Al Vitangcol, general manager of the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT 3), following reports the official awarded a P517-million service MRT-3 maintenance contract to an in-law.
But Vitangcol said during a hearing at the House of Representatives he resigned when he learned he was going to be relieved.
“(Transport) Secretary (Joseph Emilio) Abaya issued a special order today making LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority) administrator (Honorito) Chaneco the officer-in-charge of MRT3,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said.
“The DOTC is investigating new allegations involving Vitangcol and the MRT 3 maintenance contract.”
A newspaper report alleged Vitangcol awarded the MRT maintenance contract to PH Trams last year, a company established by Arturo Soriano, an uncle of Vitangcol’s wife, along with five other investors.
Vitangcol was earlier involved in an alleged extortion try on Czech train maker Inekon Group in exchange for the contract to supply 48 new coaches for MRT 3.
The $86.4-million contract for new train coaches had been awarded to China’s Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co in January.
A separate investigation is being made on the alleged extortion try and the Senate has urged Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar, who blew the whistle on the issue, to bring charges against Vitangcol.
Vitangcol has denied all allegations and has filed a perjury complaint against Rychtar at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.