Acop suspects LTFRB whistleblower Tumbado was also involved in fraud | Inquirer News

Acop suspects LTFRB whistleblower Tumbado was also involved in fraud

/ 04:24 PM October 23, 2023

House of Representatives hear the corruption allegations of LTFRB whistleblower Jeff Tumbado against suspended LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz on a hearing on October 23, 2023.

House of Representatives hear the corruption allegations of LTFRB whistleblower Jeff Tumbado against suspended LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz on a hearing on October 23, 2023. (Screengrab from House of Representatives’ Facebook livestream)

MANILA, Philippines — Antipolo 2nd District Representative Romeo Acop believes the former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) employee, who accused suspended LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz of corruption, may be involved in the corrupt practices in the agency.

Acop made this claim on Monday as the House committee on transportation investigated the allegations of former LTFRB executive assistant Jeff Tumbado.


The lawmaker heads the panel.


He grilled Tumbado on the former employee’s allegations that Guadiz was supposedly asking for bribe money from transport groups that were applying for new franchises or alteration of routes.

Tumbado suddenly invoked his right against self-incrimination.

For Acop, the witness would not invoke this type of protection if he himself was not also involved in the crime.

“Yong binabanggit na sa messaging, sa spliced na sinasabi mo, ay ‘seven cooperatives of UV transport in Region three,” the lawmaker began.

(The things mentioned in the messaging, which you said was spliced, stated that ‘seven cooperatives of UV transport in Region three.)

“105 units changed from Hi-ace to high roof in the amount of P5 million,’ hindi rin totoo ito. Gawa-gawa mo?” Acop asked Tumbado.


(This is also not true. You made this up?)

“Mr. Chair, I invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Tumbado replied.

“Alam mo, bibigay ka rin pala eh. You are invoking your right to remain silent dahil ‘yon ang k’wan ng iyong lawyer,” Acop observed.

(You know, you would eventually yield. You are invoking your right to remain silent because that’s what your lawyer told you.)

The lawmaker asked, “Eh kasi, iho, sa tingin ko bilang imbestigador, kasama ka rito eh. Ha?”

(Because, young boy, as a former investigator, you are part of this, right?)

“For all intents and purposes, kasama ka rito sa katarantaduhang ito,” Acop told the witness.

(For all intents and purposes, you are part of this foolishness.)

According to the Antipolo lawmaker, Tumbado is only revealing corruption in LTFRB now because he got a lower share of the bribe money.

Tumbado’s accusations included Guadiz and his other executive assistant supposedly collecting money from transport vehicle operators who lacked franchise.

“You’re equally guilty if there are people guilty at the LTFRB,” Acop reiterated his impression.

“You are there, part of it, but you felt bad. Some of my colleagues said you just received the shorter end of the stick, that’s why you cried out,” he revealed.

He warned Tumbado in Filipino, “Don’t smile because your smile might be lost somewhere.”

Before Acop aired his belief, the lawmaker was questioning the whistleblower about the screenshots of text messages between him and Guadiz.

In the screenshots, a certain official of LTFRB’s Region 3 office appeared to be informing the suspended LTFRB chairperson that bribes for certain operations were on the way.

During the interpellation of 1-Rider Party-list Representative Ramon Gutierrez, Tumbado was asked if the screenshots were authentic.

Tumbado responded in the affirmative twice.

However, just seconds after, Tumbado revealed these supposed parts of conversations were spliced screenshots — and, therefore, not real.

Eventually, Tumbado admitted to Acop that he only fabricated the exchange of messages.

“Now you mentioned about spliced messages. When you say ‘splices,’ would you mean to say it does not exist, Mr. Tumbado?” Acop asked.

“Your honor, gawa-gawa ko lamang po ‘yon ,” Tumbado admitted.

(I only fabricated that.)

“It was your doing. To implicate who?” Acop queried.

“Kay Chairman (Guadiz) po,” Tumbado responded.

(For Chairman.)

Acop said it would be hard for lawmakers to believe anything that Tumbado said because he kept on making statements, then he would recant them afterwards.

“It’s a fabrication,” Acop remarked.

“How can you make us and the public believe now that you are saying something, but what you are saying is not true, and what you have said now, you will say, is not authentic?” the lawmaker wondered.

Earlier, Tumbado was cited in contempt by the House panel.

He was penalized after Sagip Party-list Representative Rodante Marcoleta made a motion in this regard.

Marcoleta noted the LTFRB employee was giving different statements supposedly to confuse the panel.

Tumbado was also called out for making accusations based on his ill feelings against Guadiz.

He disclosed he felt bad when the LTFRB head transferred him to another office without hearing his side on an issue.

On October 9, Tumbado had said Guadiz was part of a scheme where they were allegedly seeking money in exchange for approving franchises and alteration of routes.

Two days after, though, Tumbado withdrew his stories.

Guadiz was suspended by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. following the allegations.


LTFRB whistleblower Tumbado cited for contempt

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TAGS: Acop, corruption, LTFRB, Probe, Whistleblower

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