A GROUP of consumers and road users on Tuesday pressed for the resignation of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
The group said Undersecretary Noel Kintanar became a “sacrificial lamb” when he decided to quit to ease the criticisms against the department’s officials.
“We have likened this to a chess game where you sacrifice the rook to save the king. But it is the mastermind who must be removed,” said Road Users Protection Advocates chairman Ray Junia.
“If there is anyone who should resign first, that should be Tugade. He is the most conflicted of them all.”
Junia said the House of Representatives and the Senate had “said in so many words that Tugade is not fit to head the DOTr [Department of Transportation].”
He said the powerful Commission on Appointments must stand firm on its earlier decision not to confirm Tugade despite his reappointment.
“The position of Cabinet secretary is one that is sensitive and of very high trust,” Junia said. “The Lower and Upper Chambers of Congress have already cast doubt on his loyalty, his competence and his intention to maneuver contracts to benefit big businesses.”
RUPA earlier wrote the Commission on Appointments to register his group’s opposition to Tugade’s appointment.
He criticized Tugade for his “incredible and fantastic solutions” such as his plan to install cable cars over the length of Laguna de Bay as well as to transform the Metro Railway Transit Line 2 into a Bus Rapid Transit.
Two lawmakers have pressed for the resignation of three more undersecretaries of the department due to conflict of interest, and after their having served private firms that had stakes in big-ticket transportation projects.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said the Transportation officials—Undersecretary for Air Operations Robert Lim, Undersecretary for Maritime Affairs Felipe Judan, and Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Raoul Creencia—must resign immediately to spare the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte from accusations of corruption and irregularities.
The two joined several other lawmakers who have sought the ouster of the Transportation officials.
Kintanar, who was previously with Ayala Corp., was instrumental in the company’s acquisition of rail projects under the previous administration. Lim was a former country manager of the International Air Transport Association while Judan has a shipping business with Ramon Ang’s Petron as customer.