NBI inspects MRT-3 train after decoupling

NBI inspects MRT-3 train after decoupling

National Bureau of Investigation agents observe as technicians dismantle the coupler of an MRT-3 coach at a depot in Quezon City yesterday. Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inspected yesterday the coach involved in the decoupling of train cars of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) in between the Ayala and Buendia stations in Makati City last week as the bureau started the official probe of the incident. 

Engineer Oscar Bongon, chief of the engineering division of the MRT-3, said they tapped the NBI to conduct an investigation to determine how the train cars decoupled and how the incident happened. 

“We are trying to identify the root cause of the problem that led to the decoupling,” Bongon told reporters during the NBI’s ocular inspection at the MRT-3 depot in Quezon City yesterday. 

The NBI has ruled out the mechanical or electrical angle in the decoupling of train cars, giving weight to the human intervention angle. 

Lawyer Joel Tovera, chief of the NBI Special Action Unit, said they found no defect as far as the technical and mechanical aspects of the train couplers are concerned. 

“We’re not discounting the possibility na sabotahe nga (of sabotage),especially that technically, the mechanical and electrical portion of the coupler assembly was not defective,” he added.  

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But he clarified that they are not yet considering that the incident happened due to human intervention until they find the persons responsible for the particular detachment of cars. 

Tovera said they will now proceed to other aspects of the investigation, including getting the statements of the persons of interest identified a few weeks after the decoupling incident last Nov. 16. 

He did not disclose the identity of the persons of interest for security reasons. 

Some train cars of the MRT-3 were detached from a northbound train between the Ayala and Buendia stations that resulted to the unloading of 140 commuters during the morning rush hour. 

A few hours after the decoupling incident, MRT-3 said there was human intervention or possible sabotage in the incident after the messma card, which records all the train interventions, went missing. 

The detachment of train cars came after the MRT-3 terminated its contract with its service provider Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) due to its alleged poor performance and after it failed to procure the necessary spare parts. 

Since then, an MRT Transition Team (MTT) was created by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) while waiting for the next service provider for the MRT-3. 

Cesar Chavez, former DOTr undersecretary for railways, tendered his resignation out of delicadeza one week after the decoupling of train cars.