MANILA, Philippines – A regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has been dismissed from office over alleged extortion in Bicol.
In a statement, the LTFRB said that Bicol Director II Vladimir Custer Kahulugan was ordered terminated by the Office of the President in an order released last November 28.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra said Kahulugan was sacked after he was allegedly found demanding “monthly protection money” from operators of public utility vehicles (PUV) in the Bicol region.
The Investigation, Security, and Law Enforcement Staff of the Department of Transportation conducted an investigation into Kahulugan following a complaint from a bus operator.
Delgra said that probe findings reaching his office indicated that Kahulugan, together with four other members of the LTFRB enforcement team, have been allegedly collecting money from PUV operators.
The agency said Kahulugan’s alleged cohorts, identified as Narciso Juntereal, Robert Pacurib, Jose Pado, and Eduardo Felix, reportedly evaded an entrapment operation launched in July.
Investigating officials also found that Kahulugan’s team was allegedly involved in “hulidap” operations where they apprehend PUVs and subsequently released in exchange for grease money.
“Likewise, Kahulugan’s group were found allegedly “protecting” drivers and operators of colorum vehicles,” the LTFRB added.
The DOTR investigators have recommended the filing of criminal charges against Kahulugan, and the deactivation of the Bicol Inter-Agency Road Safety Operation (BIARSO) organized against colorum vehicles, which he allegedly used in his extortion activities.
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