Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member Aileen Lizada filed on Friday, August 31, a case before the Office of the Ombudsman against three staff members of LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III in relation to a proposed fare hike for the Iloilo province.
The case stems from a PHP2.50 fare hike recommended by the regional director of the LTFRB, which the Region 6 office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said is too high, suggesting that the hike be limited to PHP1.50 instead.
In the affidavit filed by Lizada, she noted that as she was looking for the Order of the proposed fare hike to make changes to a statement in it that Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said were inaccurate, she was told that the it had been released without her signature and without her planned revision based on Castelo’s comment.
To Lizada’s surprise, she discovered that the Order was already attested by LTFRB Executive Director Samuel A.M. Jardin and that it was docketed for release even if the folder of the Order was still in her office “for the compulsory review, concurrence or dissent and signature.”
Based on Lizada’s investigation, Nikki Rose M. Gener, a staff member of LTFRB Chairman Delgra, took a copy of the Order from the folder without Lizada’s permission on the order of Delgra’s Chief of Staff, Manolo Labor. With the help of another one of Delgra’s staff, Martin Angelo V. Afante, Gener had the Order routed to the LTFRB Executive Director’s office for Jardin’s signature and then to the agency’s Docket Section for it to be docketed “notwithstanding that said Order was still in the process of review and revision.”
According to Lizada, the release of the fare hike order without her revisions and signature, and its submission for docketing minus its folder violated the agency’s procedures. As such, Lizada submitted the names of Labor, Gener, and Afante to the Ombudsman for violating Section 4 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and Sections 3(a) and (e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“Kawawa and unfair sa riding public at sa Office po kung ganito ang style ng pag-issue ng mga Orders for fare hikes (It is a pity and it is unfair to the riding public and the Office if this is the style in which fare hikes are issued),” Lizada said to select members of the media.
“When we do orders for fare hikes, kailangan hong tandaan marami hong matatamaan, maraming maaapektuhan, kaya we need not rush (we have to remember that a lot of parties will be hit, a lot will be affected, that’s why we need not rush),” Lizada added. “I need to do this. Why am I doing this? I need to do this to put things in order. There are other petitions for fare hikes pending in the office and I do not and will not accept this kind of deportment sa mga tao (from people). We have a mandate. We have to protect the riding public. And ganitong mga proseso (these kinds of processes) is not and will not be allowed to proceed without any sanctions.”
Like we said back in July, there’s something amiss in the LTFRB.
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