Former transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya should be investigated for alleged anomalies in the Philippine National Railways during his watch.
The call was made Tuesday to the Office of the Ombudsman by the Anti-Trapo Movement and the Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago.
In a letter to the Ombudsman, Atty. Melchor Magdamo and Leon Peralta said Abaya's role in the anomalies and his liability for allowing questioned transactions to proceed should be investigated.
The anomalies are impacting PNR operations till now, the lawyers said.
They attached to their letter a comprehensive report of the Commission on Audit detailing anomalies in PNR for three years - 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The grant of additional per diem to PNR board members followed the agency's reclassification as a government-owned and -controlled corporation.
The PNR's modernization program, which until now has failed to show benefits to the agency, should also be revisited, said Magdamo and Peralta.
They estimated unaccounted for PNR funds as running into P150 million.
They said several of those who appear involved in the questionable transactions are members of the once-ruling Liberal Party.
This is a test case, said the lawyers, adding that the action of the Ombudsman - who had once been accused by critics of being "too soft" on ex-President Benigno Aquino III - bears watching.
"Karamihan ng masasagasaan dito ay Liberal Party [Most of those who will be implicated here are from the LP]. We filed [the case] directly with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. She created a joint investigation team of COA and the Ombudsman. The COA evidence linking the anomalies not only in PNR, but also MRT, is strong," Magdamo said.
He noted that for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, the COA had made similar allegations. It just so happened that those in power were from the 'yellow forces' [a reference to LP leaders]. They were in power. This is a test case. I wonder what the Ombudsman would do? I hope she shows more will. She's due to retire soon."