Random Thoughts

NO DUE PROCESS –  Was due process really observed when Carlito Ocampo, chief of the Dagupan POSO, was unceremoniously sacked as deputized agent of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) by no less than  LTO Regional Director Teofilo Guadiz III?

To me, it  looks like  Ocampo was not given his day in court because a handbill with the heading “PAUNAWA PO SA LAHAT” was already circulated in the streets and in the hands of many jeepney drivers even if the POSO chief was still unaware of the withdrawal of his authority.

Due process dictates that LTO chief Guadiz should have first called Ocampo’s superior or even City Legal Officer Vicky Cabrera before circulating the handbill unless there is truth to the rumor that he was out to shame Ocampo and the POSO and even Mayor Belen Fernandez purposely.

Ms. Cabrera also thinks Ocampo was denied of due process. Even hardened criminals are entitled to due process, how much more for a POSO chief doing his job.

Without any such formalities, no one can really avoid suspecting that the LTO is protecting the colorum vehicles since it was only their side of story that was heard in this particular case by the honorable director.

Even if Atty. Guadiz insists that Ocampo violated his deputation by confiscating the license of the driver of the colorum vehicles and calling the apprehension illegal, prudence dictates that he should first hear the side of Ocampo before handing him his verdict.

As gleaned from Ocampo’s statement, neither he nor City Legal Officer Cabrera was contacted before LTO lowered the ax on the POSO chief’s neck.

Ocampo may have been hurt more when Guadiz voided all his actions and even went to call the drivers apprehended to get their licenses back from the LTO without paying anything.

But on the issue raised by the LTO director on television that Ocampo is not qualified for the deputation as he is not an organic member of the POSO office being only a contractual employee, that to me is another matter.

It should have been raised before LTO held a two-day seminar for POSO men and issued Ocampo’s identification card, recognizing him as deputized agent of LTO.

Incidentally, there were five policemen accredited by LTO as deputized agents.

Ocampo related to a newsman an incident when his men arrested a tricycle driver who cruised A.B. Fernandez Avenue in the downtown area, from the Quintos Bridge, as ordered by his lady passenger who identified herself as an LTO employee.

When POSO men asked the driver to show his driver’s license, the woman passenger brought out her LTO identification card and told Ocampo’s men to instead get her ID.

The driver of the tricycle where the woman was on board had no driver’s license, said Ocampo. The incident was recorded in the police blotter.

Incidentally, since it has been proven that there are colorum vans commuting paying passengers as proven by their apprehension in Dagupan, was it not better if LTO just endorsed the case of those apprehended to LTFRB?

Returning the licenses of these drivers at no cost to them might not be the right option?

Cuirously, there’s a loose talk in the transport sector that colorum operators are paying monthly payola for protection inside LTO.  True? Just asking. – Leonardo Micua

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