IT is easy to get amused by the mudslinging recently between Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Victor Caindec and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., but the former had dealt it with a more solid case, revealing an ongoing investigation over a dealership, which incidentally shows dots he could connect right up to the latter.
In a press briefing on Sept. 21, 2020, held in Cagayan de Oro City, the presidential spokesperson called out a “transportation official based in the Visayas” to “shape up.” His challenge, he said, was informed by persistent allegations of corruption, which eventually had earned an audience in Malacañang.
Roque got down to specifics the following day in a national interview, naming Caindec and said that the regional director is linked to anomalies on delayed releases of motorcycle plates and RFID stickers.
Caindec lashed back in detail on how Roque supposedly figures in a “massive investigation” and is playing his part in an orchestrated move to stall it and have him removed from office.
He said his office uncovered a family-led network of dealers when it turned out that it had a common lawyer. The questionable transactions involved five dealers with “intertwined interests” in different stores, Caindec said.
Two top executives of the dealers’ group allegedly showed up in his office to bribe him with a P500-per-transaction deal in exchange for expediting the registration process.
“The next question is why would you bribe someone if you are registering brand-new vehicles? There is supposedly no problem when you register a brand-new vehicle, especially one that is legitimately reported and is supposedly sold by reputable dealerships,” Caindec said in a SunStar Cebu report. The LTO 7, he said, later uncovered that the dealers committed massive misreporting of their sales.
The dealers were using different sets of invoices, issuing documents to the motorcycle owners that indicated “charge sales,” while submitting to the LTO records that showed “cash.” This network of dealers, Caindec said, is involved in massive tax evasion.
The regional director went on to reveal the sources of pressure on him, which include no less than the presidential spokesman, who he said was a partner of the dealers’ counsel.
When the LTO 7 held into account this network of dealers, the response was rather tangential, accusing him instead of corruption rather than answering the issues outright, Caindec said.
For an agency that is known for the longest time for rampant corruption, someone who dares to dismantle this dark hive will surely get a severe onslaught coming his way. Not that we vouch for any official’s neat record though.
If Caindec really wants to “cut to the chase” on the matter, perhaps, he can lead the press into getting a clearer picture of this massive irregularity. The wheels of justice can also be inspired by public pressure.