LTO execs sued for violating Duterte’s FOI order
MANILA — An anti-corruption group has filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Land Transportation Office Chief Edgar Galvante and Executive Director Romeo Vera Cruz for allegedly violating President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order on freedom of information.
Anti-Trapo Movement, led by chairman Leon Peralta, accused Galvante and Vera Cruz, the latter of whom heads the bids and awards committee, of ignoring a request for documents on the procurement of driver’s license cards.
The group wanted to see the documents as it questioned the license cards project following the publication of the opinion articles of columnists Jarius Bondoc and Al Vitangcol III on Feb. 22 and Feb. 25.
The group asked the Ombudsman to indict Galvante and Vera Cruz for violation of Section 3 of Executive Order No. 2, series of 2016 (erroneously stated in the complaint as 2017). The provision mandated public access to information and documents related to official acts and transactions.
ATM also accused the two of violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Section 8(b) of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.
In a 10-page complaint on Monday, ATM said it wrote two letters dated Feb. 23 and March 2, which were each received by Vera Cruz’s office a day later.
The group added that they made several telephone calls on March 23. The BAC secretariat allegedly said the release of documents was subject to Vera Cruz’s approval and “promised” to release it by March 27.
Since the documents were not released, this prompted ATM to file the complaint.
“More than 30 days from our last letter, respondents have neither replied to our request, nor provided us with the requested documents,” the complaint stated.
The complaint cited the Code of Conduct’s provision mandating public officers to reply within 15 working days, as well as the Anti-Red Tape Act’s provision that requests be acted upon within five or ten working days.
Although the letters were sent to Vera Cruz’s office, ATM said Galvante is “equally liable for the transgressions of the law” under Section 7 of the Anti-Red Tape Act.
“Respondents’ denial of our request is intended primarily and purposely to cover up a crime, wrongdoing, graft and corruption,” the complaint alleged. “Obviously, they want to cover up the rigged bidding for the driver’s license card project.”
It may be recalled that last March 10, ATM filed a graft and ethical misconduct complaint against Galvante, Vera Cruz, and five procurement officials for allegedly resorting to the direct contracting of license cards from Allcard Plastics Philippines, Inc.
The earlier complaint also cited the opinion articles of Bondoc and Vitangcol, a former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 general manager currently facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan. SFM/rga
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