THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are perceived to be two of the most corrupt government agencies under the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The two agencies are tasked to ensure safe public travel. They work hand in hand. LTO is in charge of issuing the driver’s license and registration of motor vehicles, while LTFRB enforces compliance with policies and issues franchises of public utility vehicles.
Unfortunately, these two agencies also work together in fraud and bribery that result in deaths and injuries of passengers. LTO issues driver’s licenses even to non-qualified drivers. Corruption is so rampant and pervasive that even dilapidated vehicles, or so-called “running coffins,” continue to ply the roads.
The other day, six regular employees of the LTO 7 and two fixers were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 in an entrapment at the SM Seaside licensing office. The employees were placed under surveillance for several months by the NBI following a complaint from the LTO central office that the employees were demanding big amounts of money from driver’s license applicants.
The group’s modus is for fixers to approach prospective applicants, assuring them that they will get their license quicker. Fixers then contact the LTO employees, who will process the application in exchange for a big amount, some as high as P7,500, depending on negotiation. But the actual payment is only between P600 to P700. Just imagine the disparity. Another modus is for the LTO examiner to tell the applicant that he/she failed the written and practical exams even without showing the results.
Then the LTO employee negotiates with the applicant, assuring him/her that he/she will be issued a driver’s license upon payment of a certain amount without re-taking the exams. These kinds of modus have been there since time immemorial. I don’t know what regional directors have been doing to curb this kind of corruption.
With that said, what is LTO 7 Director Victor Caindec doing in his office? Why did it take the central office to act on the complaint? Maybe he didn’t know what was happening in his turf. Now, he will claim he is responsible for busting the syndicate inside his office. Oh, come on. Kung walay kalibutan si Caindec sa mga binoang diha sa iyang opisina, mora siyag tawo-tawo sa humayan. But I don’t believe Caindec had no knowledge of the anomaly.
Another alleged modus of some LTO employees is to accept bribes during the inspection of vehicles. Inspectors allegedly receive money from registrants in exchange for approval even for non-appearance. That is why despite the requirement to pass the smoke-emission test upon registration, we can still observe private and public vehicles that emit heavy and black smoke. LTO inspectors also allegedly receive bribes for stencils of chassis and engine numbers if the details in the original certificate of registration are different from the actual numbers on the vehicle’s chassis and engine numbers. They do not thoroughly inspect the defect and real condition of the vehicle.
Needless to say, despite the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration, corruption in different degrees still exists in various government agencies. When can this stop?