THE Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of former Metro Rail Transit Authority general manager Al Vitangcol III in connection with his extortion attempt on a Czech company.
The CA’s Eighth Division sustained the order of the Office of the Ombudsman in February last year finding Vitangcol guilty of administrative charges for his attempt to extort $30 million from the Czech company Inekon that supplies light rail vehicles.
The appellate court dumped the petition of Vitangcol seeking to overturn the Ombudsman order.
The Ombudsman also ordered his perpetual disqualification to hold public office and the forfeiture of his retirement benefits.
The CA ruled that the Ombudsman was correct in finding Vitangcol guilty of two counts each of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and unlawful solicitation.
“Atty. Vitangcol’s liability for grave misconduct is also beyond doubt. His failed attempts to extort money from Inekon’s representatives… constitute willful intent to violate the law,” says the decision written by Associate Justice Pedro Corales.
The Ombudsman’s investigation showed that Vitangcol asked Inekon to pay him $30 million, which was later reduced to $2.5 million, and enter into a joint venture with a group of his choice to award the contracts for the supply of additional light rail vehicles and the maintenance of the MRT3 line in connection with the P3.7-billion MRT3 expansion project in 2012.