Press Release
November 7, 2015


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero has called on President Benigno Aquino III to fire Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for failing to serve the Filipino people and embarrassing the country before the international community.

Escudero said Abaya, a protégé and party mate of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, clearly had no right to stay in his post any longer with all the problems hounding the Department of Transporation and Communications (DOTC)--poor Internet connection and exorbitant mobile fees, "tanim-bala" (bullet-planting) scam, horrible MRT service, miserable airport facilities, and delays in license plates, car stickers and driver's license cards.

He was appalled at how the DOTC under Abaya's watch had become a source of embarrassment for the administration, the latest of which is the attention the bullet-planting racket has been getting from the media here and abroad.

"Humantong na sa punto na pati ang United Nations ay binigyan ng advisory ang kanilang mga tauhan na pupunta o manggagaling ng Pilipinas na ingatan yung kanilang mga bagahe. Hindi po ba malaking kahihiyan ito?," asked Escudero, the frontrunner in various voter preference surveys for vice president in the 2016 national elections.

The veteran lawmaker said that since Abaya took the helm of the DOTC, whose mandate is to ensure a fast and reliable communications service, as well as a safe and efficient sea, air and land transportation system, there had been no noticeable improvement in the services provided by the department, particularly in easing the daily commute of thousands of MRT passengers.

"Lahat yata ng nasa ilalim ng DOTC may problema. Ang mga airport may problema. Kapag pinag-usapan natin ang tren may problema. Pag-usapan po natin ang sticker ng mga sasakyan, may problema; lisensya may problema; plaka may problema. Wala na ho yatang naiwan pang dapat gawin ang DOTC na hindi pa sumasabog," Escudero pointed out.

On top of these, Abaya is being blamed for the port congestion in Manila that has led to significant losses on the part of importers and exporters. The problem was traced by a study of the Congressional Policy and Research Department to the lack of an integrated national transport plan as well as the absence of a long-term policy framework to support a national transport plan.

The problems confronting the DOTC, Escudero said, are a reflection of Abaya's insensitivity to the plight of the people and his lack of grasp of the issues in the transportation and communications sectors.

"Sa walong buwan na natitira sa termino ng administrasyon, sa tingin ko hindi na kayang masolusyonan ni Abaya ang lahat ng problemang yan. Huwag na nating pahabain ang pagtitiis ng publiko sa lahat ng problemang gawa ng kapalpakan ng kaniyang pamumuno," he added.

The senator also noted how Abaya tried to avoid legislative inquiries on issues hounding the transportation sector.

Last Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Public Services headed by Sen. Grace Poe, Escudero's running mate, cancelled its scheduled hearing on the troubled Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) system.

Escudero said the beleaguered Abaya had excused himself from attending the inquiry because of a prior commitment abroad only to be seen on national TV conducting a press conference on the "tanim-bala" scam Wednesday morning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"Imbes po na hintayin natin mag-resign siya, sana sibakin na lamang din ni Pangulong Aquino dahil maliwanag naman po na malapit na nating tawaging krimen ang kanyang ginagawa," Escudero said.

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