The ghosts of ‘daang matuwid’
The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant Monday for the former general manager of the Metro Rail Transit, Al Vitangcol, who faces graft charges arising from a complaint of extortion filed by Inekon, the Czech supplier of rail cars.
The case stems from the allegedly anomalous awarding of the contract for the maintenance of the MRT. According to Inekon, Vitangcol attempted to extort $30 million from its representatives in 2012 so it could bag the deal to supply coaches to the MRT. The attempt took place at the residence of the Czech ambassador to the Philippines.
Vitangcol also allegedly exerted pressure on the Czech businessmen to enter into a joint venture agreement with “a group of persons.”
It is not easy to forget Vitangcol. He and his boss, former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, were responsible for the gross deterioration of the MRT such that it has now become inconvenient, nay, dangerous, for the 600,000 daily commuters who find themselves with no choice but to use it anyway. It was also Vitangcol who tried dragging the country into a deal with a company owned by his relative, even as they insist the relative has divested from the firm, which is really not the point.
We are sure he will not have trouble forking out the P30,000 bail set by the court. Still, Vitangcol best exemplifies the duplicity of the previous administration that, we now know, allowed not a few scandals and ignominies as it preached it was treading the straight and narrow path.
Look, for instance, at the magnitude of the drug problem and the extent to which its own officials are said to have allowed—no, benefitted from—it. Where, we wonder, was Mr. Aquino and what did he know and not know about the drug trade right at the offices of its Justice department?
We may never get to find out, but ongoing cases such as Vitangcol’s assurance that justice, while slow, will catch up with these hypocrites.
The progress in the judicial processes also tells us not to fixate on the circuses happening in government—difficult as it is because of the presence of too many clowns—because if the cases are airtight, the evidence is strong and court officers do their jobs anyway, then the posers will get what they deserve, even though it may take a while.