Saturday, April 14, 2018

Walang Sasantuhin: DOTr Cracks Down on Corrupt Officials, Personnel

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is serious in cleansing its ranks as it cracks down on corrupt officials and employees, from the Central Office to its attached agencies.

After relieving all employees of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Nueva Vizcaya following reports from rice traders of extortion activities, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said he will continue to go after corrupt employees and will make sure they will face the full brunt of the law.

“Kung hindi kayo involved, wag na kayo ma-involve. Kung involved kayo, umalis na kayo. Dahil kung hindi, yariin ko kayo talaga. Wala akong sasantuhin,” said Tugade.

The transportation chief added that he will not let corrupt personnel destroy the good name that the DOTr is striving to build for itself.

“Ayaw ko ng magnanakaw, at hindi ko hahayaan na masira ng ilang siraulo ang imahe ng DOTr,” he added.

More suspensions

Yesterday, 10 April 2018, DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra issued a 90-day preventive suspension order against Atty. Mary Jil Caurel, Hearing Officer IV of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office No. V pending investigation for grave misconduct and other administrative offenses.

Caurel is being investigated on charges of grave misconduct for allegedly accepting money in exchange for speedy resolution of application for Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC), willfully and deliberately withholding the release of CPCs, as well as extortion activities in exchange for the release of impounded vehicles. She is also being charged for gross and inexcusable delay of franchise applications for almost one to two years. Caurel was likewise charged with Serious Dishonesty for falsification of entries in her Daily Time Records (DTRs) since 2016.

Victor Torrefiel, Administrative Aide VI of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) was also placed under a 90-day preventive suspension for grave misconduct and dishonesty.

Initial investigation revealed that Torrefiel committed several irregularities in the canvass of price quotation/s from non-existing suppliers for the procurement of goods and vehicle services. He is also being investigated on charges of falsification of official documents and accumulation of unexplained wealth. A show cause order dated 05 April 2018 has already been issued against Torrefeil.

Engr. Jose Budiongan, Area Manager for Area Center X of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was likewise slapped with a 60-day preventive suspension order for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The charges involve extorting monthly allowance in the amount of PhP5, 000 from Skycap porters in Laguindingan airport, malversation of public funds or property through undertaking anomalous repainting of runway and road signs, failure to maintain government property under his custody, taking a firetruck intended for use of Pagadian airport to Lagundingan, and operating a pasalubong center inside the airport. The order will be served today.

The suspensions follow the relieve order for personnel assigned at the LTO- Bayombong District Office and Aritao Extension Office in Nueva Vizcaya last 06 April 2018. The deputation orders and Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOPs) issued to DPWH personnel manning the weigh bridge in Aritao were also cancelled. Based on the complaints raised by some rice traders and truckers, several LTO personnel in the area earn as much as PhP 1-Million a day from over a thousand trucks from Cagayan Valley bringing agricultural products out of the region. The complaint was raised to President Rodrigo Duterte himself during a meeting in Malacanang.

Crack down at home

In January 2018, Secretary Tugade ordered the filing of administrative charges against Engr. Roberto Delfin, a supervising transportation and development officer assigned to the Road Transport Planning Division of the DOTr Central Office, for allegedly accepting bribes from a transport cooperative. He was initially slapped with a 90-day preventive suspension order. He purportedly received, through his aide Narciso Lim, PhP150, 000 in exchange for the DOTr’s supposed favorable action on New Sunrise Transport Cooperative’s (NTSC) application for a route measure capacity.

And, just yesterday, the DOTr issued a Dismissal Order against Delfin after a thorough investigation found him guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Eleven (11) Job Order personnel from the DOTr’s Environmentally Sustainable Initiative Transportation Unit (ESITU) were also removed from the service after they were found to have tampered with their employment contracts to increase their salaries.

Tugade warned transportation employees that the sin does not stop with those that commit corrupt practices. Those who kept quiet and did not do anything are equally liable.

“If they see someone inept, if they see someone stealing, but did not speak, they are equally guilty,” Tugade said.

The crackdown is an effort to curb corruption in government, while promoting transparency and accountability.

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