Duterte hits corruption in LRT, Ayala-UP technohub deals

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2020 04:30:59 +0000

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has decried the massive corruption in the state-run Light Rail Transit (LRT) Authority’s existing contract with the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), as well as a lease deal between the University of the Philippines (UP) and Ayala Land.

In his speech during the 69th anniversary celebration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Quezon City on Wednesday night, Duterte took a swipe at those involved in the alleged irregular LRT and Ayala-UP lease contracts, saying it was much bigger than the corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BoC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and other agencies.

“‘Yung masakit sa akin. Nasasaktan talaga ako. Kaya ako nagmumura (I am really hurt. That’s why I curse) because I know the dimension of how it was done. It’s not merely in the water sector, it’s in the LRT and some lands that were leased to them,” Duterte said, apparently alluding to the UP-Ayala Technohub deal.

“Would you believe it? At P70 per hectare ‘yung lupa diyan sa UP. Talagang if you compute, all the corruption done by those, ‘yung mga Customs, it pales in comparison sa nakaw nito (the funds they stole),” he added.

The President had given the green light for the investigation into the alleged irregular property deal between UP and Ayala Land Inc.

Signed in 2006, the lease deal between state-funded UP and Ayala Land paved the way for the development of the Technohub complex in Quezon City, which now houses call centers, campus apartments, and a business hotel.

Apart from the UP lease deal, Duterte recently announced a government review of LRT Authority’s contract with the LRMC, a consortium of the Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Pangilinan-owned Metro Pacific Investments Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.

The President said that the corruption reported in the BoC, BIR and other agencies was “just [a] pittance to the corruption being done upstairs in the higher or in the highest echelons of government.” CATHERINE S. VALENTE