The Inbox

Why should the burden of truth on MRT-3 be on Czech envoy?

Commentary

By Ellen Tordesillas

Josef RychtarWhat if Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar refuses to cooperate in the investigation of alleged $30 million shakedown by officials of the Department of Transportation and Communication in connection with the Metro Rail Transit expansion project? Is that the end of it?

Under the Vienna Convention, the international treaty that governs diplomatic relations, ambassadors cannot be compelled to appear in any investigation conducted by the host country.

The National Bureau of Investigation under orders of the President is investigating the reported shakedown which even dragged the name of presidential sister Ballsy Cruz and her husband, Eldon.

“I wish to state that the allegations that members of your family were involved with discussions with Inekon on any projects in the Philippines are simply untrue and malicious,” Rychtar said in a letter to the President last June 29.

The Cruz couple visited Prague in 2011 upon the invitation of Rytchar. They reportedly met with Czech businessmen during their visit.

A Czech company, Inekon, is bidding for the P3.77 billion MRT-3 project that would involve purchase of 48 new trains for the line that spans the EDSA from Pasay-Taft to North Avenue. Reports said the demand by DOTC officials

But Rychtar,in a meeting with DOTC Secretary Joseph ‘Jun’ Abaya named MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III as one of those involved in the extort attempt, according to Abaya.

Al Vitangcol IIIVitangcol has gone on a one month leave starting July 24.

Reports said the DOTC officials’ demand for commission went down to $2.5 million to $30 million. In his June 29 letter to the President, after the extortion try was exposed by media, Rychtar said: “The Czech proposal for the MRT3 capacity expansion and modernization is a government-to-government deal which cannot contain any provisions for commissions.”

But Rychtar complained about the non-action of DOTC under Abaya, whom he first met last April.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda once again took his usual defensive stand every time allegations of anomalies involving officials of the Aquino administration are involved.

Lacierda puts the burden of getting the truth in the extortion try on Rychtar. “Every time there is an issue on corruption we have always asked the party to present us evidence. It is no different just because an ambassador said it,” he said in a radio interview.

Lacierda further said:“It requires every person, including the Czech ambassador, to submit allegations of corruption – to submit evidence to prove these allegations, and that’s what due process is all about.”

Lacierda did not thank Rychtar for exposing the extortion attempt, which we are sure was not easy for a diplomat to do.

The government has an extensive network which it can mobilize to find out the truth if it really wants to. Aside from the NBI, each department has its own intelligence budget.

They should not give us the line that without further cooperation by the Czech ambassador, the investigation would not push through. Is that “tuwid na daan”?

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options