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Bayan Muna decries inaction on case vs LTO on smuggling

By Jolene Bulambot
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:16:00 03/15/2008

Filed Under: Regional authorities

CEBU CITY ? Dismayed over the seeming reluctance of the antigraft office to immediately resolve the issue on car smuggling, a party-list group has asked the Visayas-Ombudsman to place several Land Transportation officials under preventive suspension.

The Central Visayas chapter of Bayan Muna Friday filed an urgent motion asking the Visayas-Ombudsman to suspend at least 10 LTO officials who were allegedly involved in the registration of smuggled cars.

Armand Perez, Bayan Muna-CV secretary general, Friday said the graft and administrative complaints they filed against the LTO officials have not moved since these were filed in February.

Perez said they found it frustrating that the antigraft office continued to sit on the case despite reports that several registration documents of motor vehicles have been missing since the issue on car smuggling erupted late last year.

?If the antigraft office is sincere and serious in its effort to address massive corruption in government particularly on the issue of car smuggling, why hasn?t the case moved? They created a task force in November last year when the issue on car smuggling (started) hitting the headlines but what have they come up with? Until now, no one has been officially prosecuted,? Perez said.

Aside from violations of the antigraft law (Republic Act No. 3019), Bayan Muna filed cases for dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and serious misconduct against former LTO regional director Alex Leyson; assistant regional director Edgar Cabase and legal officer Vicente Gador Jr.

Other respondents include LTO Cebu City district head Alita Pulga, LTO-Diliman, Quezon City chief Honorario Quiambiao, Talisay district head Bernardo Borromeo, LapuLapu City head Aurea Angcay, former Tagbilaran City head Macario Getaruelas and Tagbilaran City head Fernardo Avila.

Bayan Muna alleged that there was collusion among LTO officials in Central Visayas and its central office in the questionable registration of 43 luxury cars in 2006 and 2007. The cars were given license plates assigned to the National Capital Region.

In their two-page motion filed Friday, Bayan Muna scored the Visayas-Ombudsman for its inaction in the issue on car smuggling, saying its inaction went on even after Quiambiao publicly admitted in a House hearing that former LTO chief Reynaldo Berroya approved the release of Metro Manila plates for luxury vehicles registered in Cebu.

Memorandum Circular No. 89-093 mandates that the release of motor vehicle plates or stickers can only be done by the office where the vehicle is registered, the party-list group said.

Bayan Muna said it sought the LTO officials? suspension because ?common sense dictates that something has to be done with dispatch to prevent any manipulation and to ensure the integrity of these documents which, up to the present, is under the control of respondents.?



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