Taxi tagged in ‘tanim-bala’ case loses franchise
MANILA, Philippines — A taxi driver implicated in the tanim-bala (bullet-planting) extortion scheme denied the allegation on Wednesday, but the investigation of a complaint against him still led to the cancellation of his taxicab’s franchise.
Due to the complaint, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) “scrutinized the franchise documents” and confirmed during Wednesday’s hearing that a signature was forged.
The LTFRB had summoned the operator and driver of the taxi (UVK 190) to explain why their franchise should not be cancelled over the alleged involvement of the taxi driver in the tanim-bala modus as reported in social media.
Julius Neil Habana said in a Facebook post that his seaman friend–who hailed a taxi from Sampaloc, Manila, to the airport–saw the driver place something in one of his bags. Habana said he advised him to go to his boarding house and there they searched his bags and found a .38-cal. bullet.
Taxi driver Ricky Milagrosa appeared at the LTFRB hearing and denied planting the bullet. He said he was surprised when the passenger asked to go to Remedios Street in Malate, Manila, to fetch a friend, but he agreed.
There, about three men approached the taxi. Milagrosa said he opened the trunk and waited for the passenger’s friend who was supposed to go to the airport, too.
When the passenger suddenly got out and took his bags inside the apartment, Milagrosa said he got angry. “Niloloko nyo ko eh. Ipapa-pulis ko kayo eh,” he told them.
The LTFRB messaged Habana through his Facebook account and called his agency, but he had yet to respond.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez said the accusation was not a joking matter and the case might be referred to the police or the National Bureau of Investigation if proven that the post was not true.
But the taxi driver isn’t off the hook yet, as the LTFRB received a complaint of similar tanim-bala allegation filed by William Abellanosa, chief administrative officer of a manpower agency, in behalf of Vincent Anthony.
Abellanosa said Anthony, on his way from Makati to the airport, was also victimized by the same taxi on Oct. 29, 3 p.m. Habana’s allegation happened on Oct. 29 around 9 p.m. Milagrosa said he could not remember if he was on duty in the earlier complaint.
The LTFRB issued an order, on Wednesday, to summon the complainants Abellanosa and Habana for the next hearing on Nov. 10.
The board also directed the legal division to issue an order cancelling the taxi franchise under the name of Gilbert Mendoza and deny the application for extension of franchise validity filed on Oct. 29.
Mendoza’s signature appeared in the application as taxi operator but he said he did not sign that document since he already sold the franchise to Romeo Marcial.
Marcial apparently sold the same franchise to Vivencio Torcuator, which was acceptable. However, instead of filing for sale and transfer, the application made it appear that it was still Mendoza, the original franchise owner, who was asking for extension of validity, Ginez said.
Torcuator washed off his hands and blamed his liaison officer who processed the documents. SFM
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