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Lawmaker disputes Inekon claim that it held no talks with Aquino family in MRT3 deal

10 September 2013 One Comment

PRESS STATEMENT
10 September 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

A legislator is questioning the claim made by the Inekon Group stating that it held no talks with any member of the family of President Benigno Aquino III in connection with a contract to supply rail cars to the Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT-3).

Responding to news reports linking the President’s eldest sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Cruz and her husband Eldon to Inekon’s failed bid, the Czech firm recently issued a statement to “categorically deny that any discussions on any business aspect of its proposal to DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) and MRT3 took place with any member of President Aquino’s family,” adding that “any news report linking any member of that family to any project of the company is simply untrue in its content and malicious in its intent.”

However, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio pointed out that the DOTC has confirmed that a relative of the President did play a role in brokering the initial bid of Inekon for the MRT-3 Expansion Project.

Tinio cited a letter to DOTC Undersecretary Rene K. Limcaoco dated April 24, 2012, in which the representative of Inekon Group, Yorgos Psinakis, prefaces his proposal in behalf of Inekon by mentioning the role of a certain Jorge Lichauco in opening lines of communication: “I was encouraged to send you this communication by Mr. Jorge Lichauco who has been gracious enough to bring this matter to your attention.” Psinakis then proceeded to outline Inekon’s proposal for the refurbishment of the MRT-3’s 73 existing rail cars, design and manufacture of 79 new vehicles, with provision for financing from the Czech State Export Bank.

Lichauco is the President’s first cousin, being the son of Maria Aurora “Maur” Aquino-Lichauco, who is the eldest sister of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Limcaoco oversees the bids and awards committee for the MRT-3 contract.

Tinio was provided a copy of the letter by Undersecretary Limcaoco himself following his request during the latter’s budget hearing at the House of Representatives last September 2.

“It’s clear that, contrary to their pronouncement, Inekon has in fact had dealings with a relative of President Aquino, who appears to have actively lobbied in their behalf with the DOTC,” said Tinio.

“As a private citizen, what business does the President’s cousin have dealing with DOTC officials and a foreign supplier bidding for a multi-billion peso government contract?” asked the party-list representative. “We urge Mr. Lichauco to make a full disclosure to the public of the role he has played in Inekon’s bid for the MRT-3 contract.”

Tinio noted that the Makabayan bloc has filed a resolution calling for an investigation into Inekon’s controversial bid. #

[Please see attached copy of letter from Inekon representative Yorgos Psinakis with cover letter from DOTC Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco.]

Inekon to DOTC

  • Bert M. Drona

    We native Filipinos live in the “continuing past,” to borrow the words of the late professor/nationalist Renato Constantino. Underdevelopment and regression have been our national predicament.

    Reason being, aside from external factors (such as strong resident alien influences serving their interests and foreign trade arrangements), in our homeland the ruling/governing elite is heavily populated (and thus controlled) by members of the ruling/socioeconomic class that has demonstrated time and again its conscious disdain/neglect of the native majority.

    Development most simply is improvement in human well-being not just nice/modern roads and buildings,etc. which do not help the daily existence of generations of the impoverished native majority. Development today means fulfilling the aspirations of most people for higher standards of living, longer and healthier lives; education for themselves and their children that leave them more in control of their lives.

    With the kind of governing we native Filipinos have been and are continually put through, we fundamentally have not developed more than a century hence (in contrast to the hopes of Rizal, revolutionary efforts and sacrifices of our revolutionary heroes Bonifacio, Mabini, Ricarte, Sakay, etc.and those unnamed/forgotten/murdered political activists since then.

    We native Filipinos for several reasons do not know, do not understand “what’s going on” and are kept ignorant by the ruling elite plus their native and foreign allies. So we native Filipinos can not see the forest from the trees: getting lost in the daily and repeated cases of corruption in government and private business, of not seeing the real roots of such, of wondering why a change in governing faces do not result in real changes for national development.

    Throw in that our native society’s world view -the source of our values, attitudes and behaviors- has been formed by a complex mix of geography, still primitive/traditional economic relations and long, divisive colonial history, etc.

    The only real choices after all these years since 1896 are: through violent overthrow of the ruling elite as the latter has employed our native Filipino military (led by mostly foreign-trained officers) to prevent such; and through eradication of the illiteracy -inability to critically think- of the native majority. I think we need both if only to ensure any revolutionary leadership are truly nationalistic and real development as stated above.

    From what we have seen in our Asian neighbors who started behind and now have left our country/us “in the dust,” developmentally speaking, this eradication can be realized within a generation, IF the will to do so existed.

    But again, since the ruling elite do not identify with the impoverished native majority and they go on in their own merry ways, what do you think we native Filipinos, who can not and should not expect and believe foreigners to come and help us despite their proclaimed “benevolent” intentions, as Pilosopong Tasio warned us.