Abaya, ex-transport officials face raps over P3.8-B license plate deal
MANILA, Philippines – Former transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and several other government officials are facing criminal complaints over the allegedly anomalous P3.8 billion deal for the standardization of motor vehicle license plates.
In its 12-page complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), civil society group Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) said Abaya and 7 others violated the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, the code of ethical conduct for government officials, and government procurement rules.
Aside from Abaya, the following were also named respondents in the complaint:
- Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, former undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC; now the Department of Transportation)
- Rene Limcaoco, former DOTC undersecretary
- Dante Latin, DOTC Assistant Secretary and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) member
- Julianito Bucayan, DOTC-BAC member
- Catherine Jennifer Gonzales, overall head of the BAC-Secretariat
- Alfonso Tan, former Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief
- Ron Salo, corporate counsel of J. Knieriem B.V. Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. (JKG-PPDCI)
The CCW wants to hold the respondents accountable for the LTO license plate standardization program, which drew flak from motorists because of the continued unavailability of new plates.
The Commission on Audit earlier ordered the LTO to stop paying JKG-PPDCI, the firm that bagged the contract for the supply of approximately 5.23 million pieces of plates for motor vehicles and 9.97 million for motorcycles.
“Since its implementation in 2014, all motor vehicle owners were required to replace their license plates on the date required for the renewal registration of their motor vehicles. Thus, the hapless Filipino people paid for P450 for a pair of regular plates and P120 for a motorcycle plate, all for non-existent plates,” the complaint read.
The group also said that there was no post qualification evaluation of the winning bidder, which allegedly did not have the financial capacity or the experience to undertake the project.
“It can be inferred that the DOTC-BAC have acted in manifest partiality towards PPDCI-JKG joint venture,” the group said.
CCW also cited a resolution issued by the DOJ in August, ordering the indictment of JKG and PPDCI officials for estafa through falsification of commercial document, false testimony and perjury, and violation of the Government Procurement Act. – Rappler.com