THE Commission on Audit (COA) should investigate the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to determine if the agency “milked” motorists by imposing irregular fees, according to Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd.
Albano said stopping the LTO from paying the supplier of the supposed “smart” license plates is not enough.
In a statement, the lawmaker said state auditors should “dig deeper” into LTO’s P3.8-billion new vehicle plates program amid reports that the agency tacked on an additional P100 surcharge as service fees.
“It is not enough for the COA to order a stop to all payments to the LTO car plates supplier because it must look into other scandalous ‘milk and bilk’ tricks imposed by the LTO on helpless motor vehicle owners—from scooters and motorcycles, tricycle, jeepneys, trucks, buses and car owners—all over the country,” Albano said.
The lawmaker noted that in a recent Senate hearing, agency officials admitted that they collected an extra P100 for every new car plate imposed on registered vehicles with usable plates.
The Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee conducted an inquiry into the issue because of the delay in the release of license plates.
The P3.8-billion deal with the car plate manufacturer, Power Plates Development Concepts Inc and J. Knieriem BV Goes, “will be one big black mark on the Aquino administration if it is allowed to continue and erring LTO officials tolerated to act with impunity,” Albano said.
He added that it was “abominable enough” that owners of registered vehicles “were forced” to purchase the new car plates despite having usable, serviceable car plates. “But to impose a P100 surcharge per new car plate is unconscionable greed and grave abuse of power and authority,” he said.
Albano, who is also a member for the Minority bloc of the House transportation panel, said COA is duty bound to ensure that the “millions of pesos in profits” are untouched and not remitted to the national treasury because “a refund to all vehicles victimized by the LTO is imperative.”
“The LTO is a government agency that renders public service. It is not a private corporation whose mission is to render a service for profit,” he said.