LTFRB chair‘s former assistant exposes ‘lagayan scheme’
MANILA, Philippines — The former executive assistant of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III tagged the latter in anomalies involving alleged corrupt activities happening within the board.
The accusations were disclosed in a press conference headed by transport group Manibela on Monday.
Among the alleged under-the-table transactions done within the LTFRB were modifications of routes, prioritization of franchise papers, and special permits, Guadiz’s former assistant Jeffrey Tumbado said.
“Modification of route, kapag ikaw ay operator ka [at] gusto mong makuha ang daan na ito, lalo na sa probinsya, magre-request ka [ng] modification of route tapos kung gusto mong mapadali, gusto mong mapasaiyo ‘yan kahit hindi pwede eh hanapin mo ko,” he explained.
(Modification of route, when you are an operator [and] you want to get this road, especially in the province, you will request [a] modification of route and then if you want to make it easier, you want it to be yours even if it is not possible, just look for me.)
He revealed that each illegal transaction costs P5 million, and it is paid in two installments.
When asked where the money goes, Tumbado said that he cannot divulge that information until he files a formal case before the Office of the Ombudsman.
According to Tumbado, he and Guadiz first started having discussions on how they could “benefit” from the “lagayan scheme” last March.
“Nag-umpisa ito noong March…nag-usap kami [Guadiz], regular briefing ko sa kanya, tapos medyo nag-usap kami tungkol sa mga bagay-bagay lalo na kung ano ang dapat na makapag benefit sa amin,” he said.
(It started in March…we [Guadiz] talked, I had regular briefings with him, then we talked a bit about things, especially what should benefit us.)
But he clarified that no one from the board directly asked for money from anyone and instead, they were just receiving it from people he refused to disclose.
He was also not a “bag man,” he clarified, however, he refused to say his exact involvement in the illegal activities.
He further emphasized that Guadiz may not be the only one facilitating the alleged illegal activities.
“I don’t believe na siya lang ang ano eh [involve] … [na] pang sarili nya ‘yun, may instruction din from higher ups… I believe victim din itong si chairman,” he said.
(I don’t believe that he is the only one [involved]… [that] it is his own, there is also instruction from higher ups… I believe this chairman is also a victim.)
In a statement released by the LTFRB the same day, Guadiz said that the board remains open to working with the government to ensure that the trust the public has placed in officials is not wasted.
“Kagaya nga po ng dati na nating ginagawa, patuloy po nating aayusin at titiyakin na mananatili tayong patas sa paglilingkod sa ating mga stakeholder,” Guadiz said.
(As we have always done, we will continue to improve and ensure that we remain fair in serving our stakeholders.)
“As of this morning, nasa opisina naman ako at wala pa po akong nalalaman na anumang opisyal na inihain laban po sa atin pero kung mayroon man, haharapin naman po natin ito dahil malinis po ang ating kalooban,” he added.
(As of this morning, I’m in the office and I’m not aware of any official charges filed against us, but if there is, we’ll deal with it because our hearts are clean.)
Tumbado’s sudden appearance
When asked why he decided to present himself to the public and lay out the information he knows about the scheme, Tumbado stressed that he wanted to correct things and help those being aggrieved by the illegalities.
“Gusto ko lang na itama lahat,” he said, admitting that he also had a gut feeling that he would become the “sacrificial lamb” once the issue further heats up.
(I want to correct everything.)
Evidence at hand
Tumbado said that among the evidence he currently has, aside from personal statements, are screenshots and audio recordings of conversations with the people involved.
He is set to file charges in violation of the Republic Act. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and RA 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business Act, within the week.