Fake PWD ID probe postponed

Fake PWD ID probe postponed

The investigation on fake person with disability (PWD) identification (ID) cards in Cebu City has been postponed as the key witness is currently out of town, according to a city official.

The hearing will resume next week, City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Cuenco said the witness is not affiliated with the City Government, and the investigation is being handled by the City Legal Office.

Meanwhile, the printing of PWD IDs has resumed after a two-week suspension ordered by Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia due to “heavy backlogs.”

Cuenco previously revealed details about the PWD ID scheme, which he discovered during a dinner in Los Angeles. His nephew’s wife’s best friend, a flight attendant, was able to obtain a PWD ID.

The councilor launched an investigation, which uncovered that some individuals, including a staff member in the mayor’s office, had obtained PWD IDs without meeting the necessary qualifications.

He also reported instances of able-bodied individuals purchasing blank PWD cards for P2,000 to P4,000, bypassing official requirements. These fraudulently obtained cards grant access to discounts intended for disabled constituents at restaurants, parking facilities, and even on plane tickets.

These revelations prompted Garcia to suspend the printing of new PWD IDs pending investigation on May 23, 2024.

Garcia expressed concern over potential tax losses if the IDs were misused for tax deductions.

After two weeks, Cuenco confirmed that ID printing had resumed.

“We didn’t want legitimate PWDs to suffer as a consequence.”

The investigation into the alleged PWD ID scam is ongoing, with Cuenco suggesting that what has been uncovered so far may be “only the tip of the iceberg.”

Earlier reports stated that PWD ID cards themselves lack security features, making them easy to copy.

Cuenco’s investigation revealed that as early as August 2023, certain individuals associated with the mayor’s office were implicated in the scam. / JPS

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