If I were Land Transportation Office (LTO 7) Director Victor Caindec, I should be ashamed. This, after the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor dismissed the criminal complaint the LTO filed against the officers and employees of DES Strong Motors Inc., one of the biggest motorcycle distributors in the country. According to the report of another paper, in a four page resolution dated Feb. 18, 2021, Provincial Prosecutor Ludivico Vistal Cutaran approved the recommendation of investigating Prosecutor Ivy Gonzales for the dismissal of the criminal complaints for lack of merit.
The case, which was filed in December 2020, stemmed from the allegations of Caindec that the respondents conspired to falsify the commercial documents that they submitted and uploaded to LTO’s Do It-Youself System of reporting sales. The respondents were Renie Tumon, area manager; Joann Lanzaderas, branch manager; and employees Julio Arabejo, Rovelyn Ranines and Emelita Binarao. Also indicted were Dr. Silvestre Lumapas Jr., company president and Marilou Lumapas, corporate secretary.
Prior to the filing, Caindec had been bragging about, and he even went live on Facebook claiming, that in the course of their investigation, he discovered the anomalies and accused motorcycle dealer of shortchanging the government in their sales invoices to the LTO containing “untruthful statements in the narration of facts specifically as to the purchase price and date of the motorcycles.”
But the investigating prosecutor found that the persons who prepared the sales invoices in question did not appear anywhere in the documents. “Consequently, there is no conclusive proof that indeed either one of the respondents actually falsified the sales invoices that were submitted to the LTO. More importantly, there is no allegation in the complaint that the respondents are the only persons who could prepare the company’s sales invoices,” part of the resolution read, adding that there was nothing on record to show the community of criminal design among the respondents.
Knowing that the case has been dismissed, last week, Caindec went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI 7) and sought the bureau’s assistance to investigate a similar alleged anomalies committed by other motorcycle dealers. But, for me, Caindec’s move could be just a “smokescreen” to hide whatever he wants to hide in his office. His move is just plain and simple harassment because of the allegation of the motorcycle dealers that the LTO official has been extorting money from them.
The motorcycle dealers accused Caindec of demanding an SOP of P500 per motorcycle sold. If they will not succumb to his demand, the LTO will: 1) refused to register newly sold motorcycles; 2) delay the release of thousands of OR/CR; 3) coercion of the corporation’s customers to sign affidavits in exchange for the release of their motorcycle registrations and impounded motorcycles; 4) delays in the approval of branches’ accreditation; 5) notices of action and show cause order, and 6) repeated press statements and interviews maligning the reputation of the corporations.
DES management has been joined by its sister corporations, Du Ek Sam Inc., Desmark, DES Marketing and Premio Inc., in filing complaints against Caindec before the LTO central office, House of Representatives, Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) and the Office of the President. This issue has already reached the attention of LTO and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) leadership, and even in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. But nothing came out positive.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been warning corrupt government officials, saying he is still determined to get rid of corruption in his administration during his remaining months in power. I think he should make Caindec as an example by cutting the power of this LTO official.