MEMBERS of the Cruz, Alapang, Bahong, Alno Cooperative Operators and Drivers Association (CABACODA) INC. filed a joint affidavit accusing Department of Transportation and Railways (DOTr) Cordillera assistant regional director Mohammad Nasser Abbas of allegedly deceiving them after failing to issue transport franchises.
In a four page affidavit filed in the City of Baguio dated April 18 by affiants Anthony Pulido, Fidel Carbonel Jr., Ian Palaci, John Pulido, Leonids Sabatchi, Noel Chin, Anaydos Apolinario and Eliezer Pasigon, it alleged that sometime in April of 2017, CABACODA INC. was founded to serve and offer garage shuttle services operating from Cruz, La Trinidad and Benguet Province.
Fellow members Frank and Lawrence Amistoso informed the group of their relative named Jonathan Patnugot or “Jojo” was a close aide of Abbas who could refer them to the official for assistance in obtaining and securing transport franchises for their vehicles.
Upon meeting with Patnugot, the group met with Abbas at his LTO office in Pacdal sometime in June of 2017.
Abbas was holding the certificates of registration and official receipts of their vehicles and other documents earlier submitted to Patnugot as part of their transport franchise application.
During the meeting, Abbas allegedly declared he would be issuing the transport franchises they desired and they would be the first one to be granted creating a legacy for which he would be remembered.
The affidavit added their intention of using a certain Tamaraw FX vehicles for their garage shuttle services, although they were informed these vehicles are old and do not comply with LTFRB standards as to the year model.
Abbas allegedly assured them of having to secure the necessary transport franchises for them to operate legally since he was a high ranking official of DOTr hence there was no reason to doubt his statements.
They were then informed of the necessary processing fees to be paid by depositing it through the bank account of the DOTr Central Office which they gladly paid.
Upon inquiry, 15 members were asked to pay P15,000 while 15 others paid P10,000.
According to the group, with the issuance of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines a few months later, they learned it would be impossible for them to be issued transport franchises for failing to comply with the year model and Euro 4 engine requirements and other standards.
Sometime in November 2017, Patnugot informed the group Abbas would issue them temporary special permits which they would use to operate legally pending the issuance of the transport franchises Abbas promised, after paying another P5,000 for the special permit.
The affidavit alleged, the so called special permit was designed to look like it was just a letter request from CABACODA INC. to Abbas but rather the supposed letter was just used to mask or to disguise the special permit issued by the DOTr official.
The group also claimed they never sent any letter to Abbas requesting for the issuance of a supposed special permit.
“It has almost been a year now since Abbas promised to issue us transport franchises but nothing has happened. From all accounts, it appears that we have been deceived into parting with our money by promising to issue us transport franchises, something which we have now learned is actually impossible to happen,” the affidavit added.
As of this moment, Abbas has yet to comment on the issue.