LTFRB Bicol exec sacked over alleged extortion
MANILA, Philippines — The Bicol regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) was sacked for allegedly being involved in extortion, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.
The Office of the President terminated the appointment of Vladimir Custer Kahulugan as LTFRB Bicol region director through an order dated Nov. 28.
This is after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) conducted a probe on Kahulugan and found out his alleged involvement in extortion activities against bus and UV Express operators in the region.
The probe revealed that the LTFRB official, along with personnel from the agency’s enforcement team identified as Narciso Juntereal, Robert Pacurib, Jose Pado, and Eduardo Felix, allegedly demanded monthly “protection” money from bus and UV operators in the Bicol region.
The other involved LTFRB employees remain at large, the DOTr said, after eluding an entrapment operation by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Albay Provincial unit last July 11.
The DOTr said its three-month investigation also revealed that Kahulugan and his cohorts were also involved in “hulidap” operations where public utility vehicles (PUVs) were apprehended with or without operations but will later be released in exchange for payments from operators.
It was also found out that Kahulugan made use of the Bicol Inter-Agency Road Safety Operation (BIARSO) – which he organized along with the Regional Office 5 of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group as an anti-colorum group – in his alleged extortion activities.
Informants also confirmed that the LTFRB official solicited cash from bus operators to help fund their office’s anniversary celebration, DOTr said. Kahulugan was also protecting “colorum” or PUVs without franchises.
Edited by MUF
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