Legazpi City (Nov. 18, 2016) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) downplayed allegations that there are officials in their office that should be removed because of conflict of interest.
Assistant Secretary Lea Quiambao explained that the newly formed department have hired personnel with strong backgrounds in rail and air transport.
She stressed that the DOTr particularly acquired the services of these individuals because of their extensive experience and technical expertise.
Quiambao said that there are only very few people (in the Philippines) who possess these qualifications.
The secretary pointed out that these persons have left their lucrative jobs in the private sector to join government service.
She principally referred to USec. Noel Kintanar and Usec. Bobby Lim who are workers who would “hit the ground running.”
Ayala Infrastructure executive vice president Noel Kintanar joined the department sometime after the new cabinet was formed.
The Ayala group has been rumored to have interests in building railway systems across the country.
Meanwhile, Bobby Lim was country manager for International Air Transport Association before being posted as Undersecretary for Aviation.
Quiambao emphasized that it was still Sec. Arturo Tugade who would make the final decision and not these officials.
“The secretary (Tugade) would still be the ultimate policy-maker.” she said.
It will be recalled that the president’s strongest ally in congress, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, has questioned the appointments of these DOTr undersecretaries citing conflict of interest.
Alvarez was quoted in media reports as saying that these officials may use their positions to corner government contracts for their former companies. (J. Garalde)