Editorial: Be gracious

LAND Transportation Office (LTO) Central Visayas Chief Victor Emmanuel Caindec has perhaps spent a good share of his time parrying all the attacks coming his way. The latest is his spat over SunStar columnist and broadcaster Bobby Nalzaro, who had dedicated a number of his columns critical of the director. On two occasions, Nalzaro headlined the word “arrogance” in his columns (Feb. 18 and Aug. 13, 2019) on Caindec, citing what he thought were apparent show of haughtiness on the part of the LTO 7 director.

Nalzaro’s beef in the first instance was based on reports that Caindec had made a “stern warning” to apprehend car owners who could not claim their license plates on time. It was, the columnist thought, rather high-handed for the LTO director to pressure car owners when the agency, on the other hand, failed to deliver the license plates for a considerable time. The second instance was when Caindec, speaking in a radio interview, threatened that he’d order his men to “burn” illegally parked vehicles. The director intended to slap violators with “reckless driving”; the cars didn’t get to be illegally parked if they weren’t driven in the first place. If violators have an issue on that, they should just go to court, Caindec advised; Nalzaro deemed it arrogant.

The recent word war between the commentator and the director was triggered when the former wrote about an accusation the latter’s biological father Victorio “Sonny” Caindec made against his son. Nalzaro wants the Ombudsman to do a lifestyle check on the director.

Caindec is no stranger on this spot of the world. Last year, he disclosed that he was the target of a well-funded smear campaign, perpetuated by what he called the “LTO Mafia.” The spring cleaning he had done in the agency placed him in a heated position, infuriating the old guards, he said.

All these accusations hurled against Caindec will have their day in proper court. Meantime, the agency that he leads has been doing fairly excellent strides as far as services are concerned. It had opened a good number of “Mega Licensing Centers” and extension offices in the region. Most of them, the director said, were at no cost to government; the establishments saw the extension offices as crowd-drawers. From a baseline of 18 offices, the LTO now has 31 frontline offices, if the figures are updated.

In the end, we are perhaps looking at a proactive and efficient administrator whose tragedy is his inability to handle criticism with the graciousness of a true public servant. He can clarify accusations publicly with facts, the same ones he had probably submitted to court in his defense, and should be less of a prattler on social media. He can learn it along the way.