TWO car owners were summoned before the Highway Patrol Group-Central Visayas (HPG 7) on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, after they were found to have been using the same number plate.

Cecile Labang, a businesswoman, earlier reported to the HPG 7 that she could not renew the registration for her Toyota Avanza car with plate number NEU-1976 before the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

The LTO reportedly told Labang that her vehicle can’t be registered in their database since there was another vehicle bearing the same number plate.

In order to clarify the matter with the authorities, Labang brought her car to the HPG 7 office in Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City.

It was there where she discovered that another Toyota Avanza car with a different color was also using the said number plate.

After finding the discrepancy, personnel from the HPG 7 summoned the owner of the other car.

When the owner of the other car came to their office, HPG 7 personnel found that both cars were purchased from the same car dealer based in C. Padilla St., Cebu City.

Labang admitted that she did not encounter any problem when she bought the car because it had complete documents from the LTO, such as the original certificate of registration and original official receipt.

The other owner of Avanza car, a businessman who refused to be identified, said he did not expect that his car plate has a duplicate.

The businessman, however, eventually learned that he was carrying a duplicate when his application for a RFID sticker for access to Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) was denied due to double entry of the said number plate.

Due to the incident, the HPG 7 backtracked records to identify the real owner of the car plate.

Modus operandi

HPG 7 Chief Col. Neil Francia said the double plate is the modus operandi of the criminal elements in Luzon.

He added that he isn’t discounting the possibility that one of the two cars was stolen in another place and registered it in LTO Dipolog City in Mindanao.

Francia said they are set to file a case against the car dealer who victimized their customers.

Separately, LTO 7 Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec said they will assist HPG 7 in its investigation on the matter.

Caindec told SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Feb. 2, that their office is still waiting for the HPG to submit the documents needed in the investigation.

Caindec added that for now, the LTO will not take any action so it will not jeopardize the HPG in its investigation on the issue.

“But one thing is for sure, one vehicle is the holder of the legitimate plate number while the other vehicle is holding the suspected duplicated plate number,” he said.

Once the HPG will submit the records and documents, the LTO will begin its verification process. (IRT, AYB / TPT)