A party-list lawmaker on Friday exposed another irregularity hounding the Metro Rail Transit 3.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles revealed that out of the 73 MRT3 cars, only one is equipped with the original Vehicle Logic Unit.
The VLU serves as the “brain” and the primary automatic safety device for MRT 3 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) while the rest have been pilfered and were replaced with “chopsuey” and unauthorized parts.
MRT3 maintenance was originally handled by the Japanese firm Sumitomo but when the Aquino administration took over, the maintenance was taken over by PH -Trams-CB&T for six months, then by Global Epcom-Apt, followed by Global EpCom-SBI-CB&T, Nograles said.
Although these companies and joint ventures have different names, Nograles noted that alleged Liberal Party political operator Marlo dela Cruz was among the top incorporators. And while Dela Cruz was no longer involved as incorporator under BURI, his company Diamond Pearl had become its VLU supplier.
“After Sumitomo, different companies took over maintenance before BURI. Strangely, all these companies had Marlo dela Cruz as one of the top incorporators and when BURI took over, he became BURI’s supplier. To me, this is highly anomalous and it appears that all these contracts have been manipulated to favor Dela Cruz,” Nograles, a deputy majority leader, said.
“Is it a coincidence that the VLUs were surreptitiously taken off the MRT3 cars and replaced with fake ones and Marlo dela Cruz suddenly becomes the VLU supplier?
“Marlo dela Cruz should stop ignoring our summons for him to explain his role on this MRT3 maintenance contracts. I will definitely move to have him arrested if he fails to appear in the next hearing,” Nograles said.
Nograles said all but one of the original “Bombardier” VLUs which were previously installed on each MRT3 car have been removed and were replaced with unauthorized and mismatched or mixed VLUs.
But at a congressional hearing earlier conducted by the House committee on good government and public accountability, headed by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Busan Universal Rail Inc. spokesperson and lawyer Charles Mercado denied reports they replaced MRT3 VLUs with unauthorized units.
But Mercado lied, Nograles alleged. He said based on documents he obtained, only car number 63 is still equipped with the proprietary VLU manufactured by the Canadian firm Bombardier Transportation Signal Ltd. which has been designed especially for MRT3.
“It turns out BURI’s lawyer and spokesman Atty. Charles Mercado is lying through his teeth when he claimed that the VLUs installed in the MRT3 cars are all original parts and no replacement has been made of these very important safety devices. It turns out that except for one car, all other cars have fake VLUs. I think that he should cited for contempt for lying under oath,” Nograles said.
In a memorandum submitted by MRT3 Engineers led by Jowelito Barco to MRT3 chief engineer Oscar Bongon, it showed that based on an inventory conducted on all of the 73 MRT3 cars, it showed that except for car number 63, all other 72 LRV units are equipped with either ABB, ABB-Daimler-Benz or Daimler Chrysler VLUs and not Bombardier.
Nograles said that equipping the MRT3 cars with different types of VLUs instead of the proprietary Bombardier VLUs could be responsible in the constant MRT3 breakdowns and glitches because a mismatch of these safety devices could cause interface problems on the entire system.
“I am no engineer but it is very basic that when you have devices that have different operating systems, interfacing them to do a single task can be a problem. An apple iPhone for example can have difficulty connecting or pairing through bluetooth with an android device.. The same is true with the VLUs,” Nograles said.
Nograles noted that the House good government committee which investigates the installation of “fake” parts on the MRT3 trains, should find out when the original Bombardier VLUs have been removed and replaced with fake or irregular VLUs and who was responsible for taking them off the MRT3 cars.
“Who stole the Bombardiers of the VLUs and why they were stolen?” Nograles asked. “Worse, who was the government who allowed these fools to take advantage of the situation?” Nograles added.
Nograles admitted however that the pilferage of the Bombardier VLUs could have taken place prior to BURI’s take-over as MRT3 maintenance provider because there were at least three service providers that handled its maintenance.