Forced to explain MRT woes, former transport official invokes God

Former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya mentioned the name of God at least three times during a Senate hearing on Monday to defend the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 contracts the government had entered into during his time.

It was under Abaya's leadership when the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) awarded short term contracts to alleged "dubious" maintenance providers like the Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation or PH Trams.

"Sa amin po ginawa namin ang aming makakaya (For us, we did all we could do). We think we did the right thing and our conscience was clear. When we finally face our God, I could answer all the things that he would ask me," Abaya said during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services.

The former transport official was responding to the committee chair, Senator Grace Poe, who asked how he felt when he saw the sufferings of MRT riders every time the trains broke down.

Abaya first mentioned God when responding to Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito's queries.

"Ginagarantiya ko ho sa inyo na wala hong nakinabang dito , walang kalokohan ho ito, above board lahat at malinaw ang konsensya namin. Kaya kung sagutin ang ating Panginoon na ginawa amin ng maayos ito," he said.

(I guarantee you that no one made money out of this. There is no truth to the allegations. All these actions are above board and our conscience is clear. I can answer the Lord and tell him that we did our jobs well.)

And when Poe grilled him over the maintenance deal with the PH-Trams, Abaya again uttered the name of God amid insinuations that he was just trying to cover up his predecessor, former Secretary Mar Roxas.

Abaya earlier admitted that he was not aware that the PH-Trams only had a P625,000 paid up capital and was just incorporated two months before it was awarded the maintenance contract in 2012.

"…Kasi alam mo Secretary Abaya, sundalo kayo, inaako nyo yung mga bagay na maaring hindi naman talaga sa inyo dapat nahulog (because you are acting as soldiers, Sec. Abaya, you are shouldering things which should not have been your responsibilities)…" Poe said.

"Hindi po. Mabuting sundalo po ako pero sa Panginoon po ako sumasagot, hindi po kanino man (No. I am a good soldier, but I'm only answerable to the Lord and not to anyone else)," Abaya said.