THREE employees of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) were arrested for allegedly stealing license plates from the agency’s plate making plant in Quezon City.
In a press conference on Friday, January 26, 2024, LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Attorney Vigor Mendoza II said the plant’s embossers, Jenard Arida and Arjay Anasco; and warehouse staff Valeriano Nerizon were arrested on Thursday, January 25, 2023.
He said LTO Intelligence and Investigation Division chief Renante Militante coordinated with Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr., who tapped the Philippine National Police (PNP), after receiving information that the suspects were sneaking out five license plates from the plant.
Mendoza said they identified Allan Joker Abrigo, another LTO employee as the group’s “team leader.” He is now a subject of a manhunt.
Militante said the four suspects were under a job order.
Abrigo started working with the LTO in 2018, while the others in 2019 and 2020.
He said they have been investigating the reported smuggling of license plates from the plant since last year but it was only in January 2024 that a witness, who is also an employee in the plant, stepped forward.
He said they were able to obtain CCTV footage on how the suspects brought the license plate out from the plant.
(Their leader was seen on CCTV how he took the license plates from the plant. He hides the plates, tuck it in the back, and then put in the motorcycle’s box. When it's off duty, he takes the plates with him.)
Mendoza said the suspects were selling the license plate at P10,000 per piece.
“A thorough investigation revealed that the modus starts with a leader or a financier who will acquire a vehicle through financing and will illegally sell the vehicle using duplicated plates and fake OR/CR,” the LTO said in a statement.
“By doing so, the financier finds its way to provide a fraudulent plate and OR/CR from his/her contact inside LTO amounting to or less P20,000 each pair of plates. More so, his/her contact will then request the Plate Making Plant team leader to illegally put these so-called duplicate plates,” it added.
Mendoza said they are still determining how long and how many license plates have been stolen by the group.
He said more employees will be investigated. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)