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P30M libel suit filed vs Czech envoy, Inquirer

A former maintenance contractor of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) filed a P30 million libel suit against Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar.

In a five-page complaint-affidavit filed before the Mandaluyong Prosecutors Office, Roehl Bacar, CEO of Comm Builders and Technology Philippines (CB&T) finds Rychtar’s statement which alleged that Bacar’s company bagged a six-month contract to maintain the MRT in October 2012 because of his connections with influential government officials to be malicious and libelous.

Aside from Rychtar, Bacar also sued the Philippine Daily Inquirer led by their editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc for running the story on Rychtar’s allegations.

He denied that he was being backed by the highest Department of Transportation and Communications officials and some politicians in the P3.8-billion MRT expansion project.

“He [Amb. Rychtar] is lying. I didn’t say I have connections to high ranking government officials. I didn’t say I was highly connected,” Bacar told the Manila Bulletin.

“I’m filing the case because I wanted to clear my name which has been tarnished by the malicious statement of Rychtar,” he added.

Rychtar has not yet replied to Manila Bulletin’s queries.

The complaint of Bacar stemmed from an article published in the national daily on Saturday, April 5, that mentioned a certain “Boyet Bacar” as one of those involved in a cooked joint venture that transferred the maintenance of MRT from contractor Sumitomo to PH Trams and CB&T, Bacar’s company.

The newspaper report quoted an affidavit submitted by Czech envoy Rychtar to the House committee on good government and public accountability.

Rychtar supposedly said in his affidavit that the transfer of maintenance operations to CB&T and PH Trams was “backed by the highest DOTC officials and some politicians.”

However, Bacar denies that he has connections with the DOTC as claimed by Rychtar.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to come out with its full-report on the $30 million shakedown attempt on a Czech supplier of trains by MRT officials by next week, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

De Lima said she already talked to NBI director Virgilio Mendez to expedite the release of the report on the multi-million dollar extortion as alleged by Rychtar and railway firm Inekon Group (Inekon).