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Manibela files graft rap vs DOTr execs, OSG over PUV modernization

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Manibela files graft rap vs DOTr execs, OSG over PUV modernization
This photo shows the transport group Manibela staging a protest in front of the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City.
Manibela / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Transport group Manibela on Wednesday filed a complaint against officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

In a five-page complaint filed by the transport group before the Office of the Ombudsman, Manibela said that the officials violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by not observing “due process” as they pushed for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Among the respondents in Manibela’s complaint are Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC) Chairman Ferdinand Ortega, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III and Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra.

“Maraming vioniolate ang programa nitong mga opisyal ng DOTr, LTFRB, OTC at kasama po dito ang solicitor general,” Manibela Chairman Mar Valbuena said in an interview with reporters.

(Many violations have been committed by officials of the DOTr, LTFRB, OTC and the solicitor general is also included in this.)

“Inabuso tayo, nilabag ang ating mga karapatan, dineprive ang ating mga kabuhayan,” he added.

(We were abused, our rights were violated and our livelihoods were deprived.)

Valbuena said that the respondents violated human rights by depriving them of their livelihood due to DOTr-issued Memorandum Circular No. 2023-051.

Under the memorandum, PUV drivers and operators are required to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations until Dec. 31, 2023. If they fail to do so, the circular stipulates that their transport franchises will be revoked. 

The deadline, however, has been extended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. until April 30, 2024, which the transport groups described as a “minor victory.” 

Bautista, meanwhile, said that they have yet to receive a copy of Manibela’s complaint.

He also said that the DOTr would study the charges and “respond at the appropriate time or forum.”

“We assure the general public that in implementing the PUV Modernization Program, DOTr and its attached agencies endeavor to strictly comply with pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution, as well as relevant laws and jurisprudence,” Bautista said.

Philstar.com sought comment from Guevarra about the transport group’s complaint. He noted that Manibela’s argument is the same argument that other transport groups filed before the Supreme Court (SC) on December 20. 

“As legal counsel of the government, the OSG acted in accordance with its lawful mandate,” Guevarra said in a Viber message. 

The PISTON-led petition in December 2023 asked the high court to halt the implementation of the PUV consolidation program and declare the PUVMP unconstitutional.

The high court, however, did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the PUV consolidation. This prompted the transport groups to file another petition and TRO. 

As of January 5, the LTFRB said that 73% of jeepneys in the country have consolidated for the PUVMP.

vuukle comment

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

DOTR

LTFRB

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL

OSG

PUV MODERNIZATION PROGRAM

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