A rotten egg in the basket?
By Leonardo Micua
AFTER the mainstream media broke out the good news that President Duterte deferred the implementation of the Child’s Car Seat Law, then recently declaring Private Motor Vehicles Inspection Centers (PVMICs) as being not mandatory, owners of some 12 million vehicles across the country surely rejoiced!
They will no longer be required to pay P1,8000 per inspection and another P900 for re-inspection as additional fees to register their vehicles. In Dagupan, no more parking fee to pay for queuing while waiting for PMVIC, owned by Bily Transport Inc. in Barangay Mayombo, to inspect the vehicles.
This is sad news to those who invested in PMVIC. They lost their millions for investing in this “mandated service” at the drop of a hat. Kwarta na, naging bato pa?
The dressing down that the DOTr and LTO officials got when they faced the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Senator Grace Poe was telling. It was an indication of the rage that vehicle owners in the country felt.
The PDI news head of the story the following day summarized the shared sentiment of all the senators: “Privatizing vehicle inspection ‘highly suspicious’, prone to corruption”.
When Senators Ralph Recto and Franklin Drilon asked the LTO and DOTr officials for their legal basis for authorizing PMVICs to inspect vehicles prior to registration and to collect fees not approved by NEDA, not one could cite a specific law but merely pointed to memorandum circulars.
I recall that this was also the claim of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan that adopted twin resolutions, one addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte and DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, and the other to Mayor Brian Lim, both of which sought the suspension of PMVIC operations.
In a dismissive manner, LTO Regional Director Teofilo Guadiz Jr. cited two laws—the Motor Vehicle Law and the Clean Air Act— as the legal basis for the establishment of PMVICs. Short of calling members of the SP ‘stupid’, he dismissed the resolution by describing these as laughable.
But at the senate hearing, a disgusted Senator Recto told the DOTR and LTO brass to go to Congress first and ask for a law.
It appears today that LTO Director Guadiz was either prevaricating or bluffing when he cited two laws as the legal basis for the PMVIC because the senators rejected that claim. (I doubt if he will apologize to the SP for belittling the councilors’ position when he spoke before KBP Pangasinan headed by Jay Mendoza in its virtual forum.
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For authorizing PMVICs without legal basis, compelling would-be drivers to attend only a favored driving school that charges applicants P5,000, failing to issue long overdue motorcycle plates, plus its recent flak for enforcing the Child’s Car Seat Law, LTO was placed in the eye of the storm last week and emerged totally bruised.
By announcing that PMVIC is no longer mandatory, LTO is like one rotten egg in a basket.
And, because there were speculations that some PMVICs are owned by politicians close to LTO officials, the owners must have been very edgy when Senator Grace Poe said she would get the names of these owners.
By the way, Mayor Lim not only rejected the request of the SP to temporarily suspend the operations of the PMVIC but also refused to issue a permit to protesting vehicle owners to assemble and stage a noise protest. Afraid to displease the LTO regional office?
The protesting public certainly hit the nail squarely on the head.
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We commend the PNP provincial Office under P/Colonel Ronald Gayo for the arrest of three more suspects charged for participating in the ambush of former Fifth District Congressman Amado Espino Jr. Police agents from Pangasinan tracked down the suspects hiding in faraway San Juan, Batangas.
All three, including the others already arrested and behind bars, are members of the Raul Sison criminal syndicate. (Sison, a former board member of the second district of Pangasinan from Urbiztondo town, died from COVID-19 in Manila). All the other suspects, except for two or three, are from Urbiztondo.
Since many said it may not be Sison who masterminded the ambush on September 11, 2019, the Special Investigation Task Group Espino then headed by then colonel and now Brig. Gen. Ismael Yu is still doggedly working on the case.
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