BAGUIO CITY – Eso-Nice Transport Corporation, the owner of the bus that crashed in a ravine in Benguet province, faked its certificate of roadworthiness, a transportation official said Friday.

Federico Mandapat, director of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) in Cordillera Administrative Region, said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) denied having issued a certificate of road worthiness to the bus company last July 13.

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In a supplemental report submitted to President Benigno Aquino III, the chief of the North Motor Vehicle Inspection Center in Diliman in Quezon City also denied issuing a roadworthiness certificate for the ill-fated bus.

Engineer Joel Donato, who supposedly signed the fake roadworthiness certificate denied having issued the certification that the bus, which fell into a ravine last Aug. 18 was fit to convey passengers.

The road accident killed 42 people.

Donato denied in a letter that they issued such certifications to any public utility vehicle in the North Motor Vehicle Inspection Center.

Eso-Nice officials earlier claimed the bus, which figured in the accident, was in good running condition, and safe to travel and to carry passengers based on the certification issued by the LTO.

In the hearing called by the DOTC on Monday, counsel for Eso-Nice Transport Corporation Rosendo Meneses confirmed the authenticity of the certificates of roadworthiness issued to the company.

He however failed to furnish the DOTC original copy of the certificate of roadworthiness during the hearing.

Mandapat said they will look into the matter as many allegations of fraudulent franchise and certifications have been forwarded to his office.

As of now, the bus firm's 19 bus units are still under a 30-day preventive suspension.

Mandapat said the bus company will have to face cancellation of its franchise if they are proven to have violated transport regulations in their franchise and falsified roadworthiness certifications.

President Benigno Aquino III ordered a thorough investigation and study of the entire transport industry to formulate policies and prevent incidents in the future. (JM Agreda of Sun.Star Baguio/Sunnex)