DOTC-CAR Director to face PAGC and OMB Again

DOTC-CAR Director to face PAGC and OMB Again

By B.A. Dawang (The Junction Regional Newspaper, May 3-9, 2003 issue)

BAGUIO CITY - The Regional Director of the DOTC-CAR will be facing the Presidential Anti Graft Commission (PAGC) and the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) as two complaints for administrative and criminal offenses were recently lodged against him.

The complaints, lodged by Linis Gobyerno, stemmed from the nine LTFRB Decisions issued by the LTFRB-CAR on December 20, 2002. In the said Decisions, the LTFRB-CAR, which is now being headed by the DOTC-CAR Regional Director Alfredo Mondiguing, have granted franchises to nine units of vans with the route “Bauko, Mountain Province to any point in CAR (except Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, and Tublay) and vice versa“. The franchises were lodged in the LTFRB-CAR’s records as Case Nos. 2002-CAR-001 up to 2002-CAR-008.

It was alleged that Mondiguing issued the franchises without even hearing or scheduling for hearing the Joint Opposition filed by various Jeepney Operators’ and Drivers’ Associations of Mountain Province, dated November 26, 2002.

Sometime on January this year, the drivers and operators of jeepneys in Mountain Province were surprised to see that the vans subject of their opposition were already plying their route. Thus, on January 17, they have filed an “Ex-Parte Motion from Oppositors” asking the LTFRB-CAR to set for hearing their earlier filed opposition.

On January 20, Linis Gobyerno personally talked to LTFRB Chairman Dante Lantin, and raised the problem of Mt. Province jeepney drivers and operators. Right there and then, Lantin called up Mondiguing in the telephone and asked him point blank if he issued franchises for vans-for-hire even if there is an opposition lodged. According to Lantin, Mondiguing said that he cancelled already the franchises he issued as per his memorandum dated January 17. His basis for the unilateral cancellation was that the franchises were inadvertently issued. It was observed, however, that his memorandum is canceling 15 franchises, whereas the subject of the complaint is only 9.

Linis Gobyerno averred that even if Mondiguing has cancelled the franchises, this does not exculpate him from a wrong that has already been committed. The complaint further states that “…what if these irregular franchises issued were not made known to the public, and how many more of this type of irregular and anomalous franchises have been issued and are being issued in secret without the benefit of public transparency…”

The complaints were received by PAGC and OMB on April 30.

Meanwhile, the Office of the President recently dismissed the earlier complaint filed by Linis Gobyerno against Mondiguing, despite the PAGC’s recommendation that Mondiguing should be reprimanded. The Resolution, penned by Waldo Q. Flores, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary, dismissed the complaint saying the it has no basis and is just a form of harassment.

The said complaint is regarding Mondiguing’s non-action on the issue raised by Linis Gobyerno that numerours buses are plying the Baguio Manila route without proper franchises. Mondiguing averred in his position paper submitted to the PAGC that the bus companies have applied for extension of franchises, which allowed them to continue  to ply their route. He also cited that the flexibility rule was lifted only at the NCR but not for the buses with provincial operations. Flexibility rule allows a bus company to pull out its buses with another route (example NCR-Dagupan) to ply the route (Pasay-Baguio).

Mondiguing however failed to explain that the flexibility rule, while effective in the provincial areas, requires the operators to secure a permit from the LTFRB, and the permit being issued by the LTFRB specify a date in which the permit is applicable. In the visit of Lantin to Baguio a few months back, he was asked about the flexibility rule and he explained that the permit being given to bus operators specifies the bus (plate number and LTFRB case number), and the date in which the permit should be applicable. “It is not an eternal permit”, he said.

It was observed that the Resolution did not, in any manner talk about the position paper submitted by Linis Gobyerno.

Linis Gobyerno’s Executive Director, Freddie Farres, said that the group will be filing a motion for reconsideration, which among others, would point out Flores’ non-appreciation of the evidence submitted by Linis Gobyerno, his apparent ignorance on the LTFRB rules, and his delving on unsubstantiated allegation about Linis Gobyerno not in anyway related to the case at hand. It was noted also, that Flores did not seek the legal of opinion of LTFRB, which has the authority and knowledge over the matter.