Nalzaro: Unmask this corrupt LTO official

Bobby Nalzaro
·4 min read

TODAY, Feb. 15, is the continuation of the inquiry of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, surrounding the implementation of Republic Act 11235, also known as the “Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.” During the last hearing, as I saw on social media, Gordon was fuming mad as he castigated some resource speakers, especially representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Office (LTO), for making the lives of motorcycle customers miserable in getting documents from the agency like registration papers and plate numbers. These have been the perennial problems of motorcycle customers. The LTO is dilly-dallying the release of the documentary requirements and plate numbers for unknown reason.

Also, during that hearing, five motorcycle companies — Du Ek Sam, DES Marketing, DES Strong Motors, Desmark Corp. and Premio Corp., were dragged into the discussion when Senator Gordon accused them of engaging in unfair business practices related to motorcycle sales. The allegations ranged from irregular invoicing and repossession practices, high interest rates and withholding documents insurance and plate numbers from customers.

In an exclusive statement sent to Top Bikes Philippines, an online publication, which features motorcycles and motorbike enthusiasts, the motorcycle companies in question aired their side of the story. Here’s part of the article of Top Bikes Philippines written by Aris Ilagan, which I am quoting verbatim.

The statement said: “The motorcycle industry is highly competitive with over a hundred dealerships nationwide vying for customer patronage loyalty. It would be to our detriment to treat our customers poorly by withholding registrations, plate numbers and insurance from them. We would have lost the loyalty of all our customers had we done all of the above,” the companies said.

If the group is to be believed, there is a third party in the controversy — an LTO regional officer. “These claims also seem to serve as (the regional officer’s) way to divert the Committee’s attention from the corrupt practices of his office, which should be the very subject of an investigation by the Blue Ribbon Committee, as it is tasked to look into the practices and accountability of public officials,” the dealers added.

The business group also accused the LTO official of coercing their customers, delaying the release of registration papers and accreditation at their respective LTO branches and repeatedly maligning the organization before the media. They said their relationship with the LTO official turned sour after they refused to give money under the table to facilitate the processing of newly purchased motorcycles.

“This fight was originally for our motorcycle customers who need their registration and plate numbers at the soonest possible time, but it has now become a fight for our fellow Filipinos who deserve a corrupt-free government,” the group stressed. “But for us to achieve that, it starts with each citizen to find strength to report rather than to hide in fear,” they emphasized.

In case you are itching to know who the LTO official is, tune in to the Senate hearing today. I hope these motorcycle dealers have the guts to name this LTO official so that he will be unmasked. Who is he? Is he the one exposed by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque few months ago for alleged extortion? Pinoy Aksyon, an anti-corruption nongovernment organization advocate, had already exposed the shenanigan of this official. The group will also come up with manifestation before Gordon’s committee today to turn the tables on this corrupt LTO regional officer instead of focusing their investigation on motorcycle dealers. Your guess is as good as mine.

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It’s good that President Duterte has suspended the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) results as a mandatory requirement for registration of vehicles due to numerous complaints. Bowing to the pressure of the public due to high cost of P1,800, Duterte ordered the suspension of the requirement. What the registrants need to submit is only the emission test result, which cost P600.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President arrived at this decision to “balance” the needs of the public amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the Senate, which investigated the MVIS operation amid questions on law, corruption and complaints from motorists, recommended for the immediate suspension of MVIS requirements. Some senators claimed there is no law that allows the privatization of the vehicle inspection program, saying it’s a lucrative business for those who are behind it.

Under the new MVIS, a vehicle to be registered must pass a stringent 73-point inspection system to be conducted in three stages with the use of state-of-the-art equipment that sends, automatically and in real time, the results to the LTO information technology system. In the past, the inspection was done manually and virtually because of the LTO’s obsolete equipment. Maayo ra gisuspenso kay tan-aw nako morag lain na pud ning money-making venture sa taga-LTO ug mga interest groups. Dinhi sa Cebu City, nag-away-away ra ba kuno ang mga negosyante nga nagpaluyo ani. (It’s good that it is being suspended since, the way I see it, it will be another money-making venture for some in the LTO and interest groups. Here in Cebu City, businessmen behind this are allegedly bickering.)