The Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) on Friday said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should suspend its controversial Motor Vehicles License Plates Standardization Program (MVLPSP) after the Commission on Audit (COA) red-flagged the program.
Former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman, the president of AAP, welcomed the latest action of the COA to disallow the payment of P477.9 million to license plate suppliers Knieriem BV Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. (JKG-PPI), after it found irregularities in the transaction.
Lagman said that while the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is still entitled to appeal the findings of COA, it should, however, stop implementation of the license plate program because of violations committed in the procurement .
He added that the LTO should also stop charging motor vehicle owners an additional P450 on their registration fees as payment for a new set of license plates.
“I’m glad COA did that [issuing a notice of disallowance],” Lagman said.
“The disbursement amounting to P477,901,329 was disallowed in audit as procurement transaction is considered irregular and illegal,” the COA notice read.
State auditors also enumerated a number of violations of the Procurement Reform Law, Auditing Code and a Department of Budget and Management circular, which became the bases for the issuance of the notice.
COA also ordered Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Assistant Secretary and LTO chief Alfonso Tan Jr. and other DOTC officials involved in the license plate deal, including the contractor, to immediately settle the disallowance.
Lagman said that aside from the P477.9 million, the LTO may also be required to reimburse motorists who already paid for the license plates if the COA issuance became final.
AAP is among those that are against the MVLPSP of the LTO that according to many is just another way for the government to generate income at the expense of motorists.
The group had been insisting that instead of making plate replacement mandatory for owners of old motor vehicles, the LTO should make it optional.
The DOTC is yet to come up with its position regarding the COA notice, which was issued after the Supreme Court ruling dismissing a petition filed against the MVLPSP.