It’s about time for President Duterte to step up the campaign against graft and corruption. Recent reports indicate that despite the President’s tough stance against criminals and unscrupulous government personnel, corruption is still rampant in some government agencies.
It seems that the tough-talking Chief Executive has yet to strike fear in the heart of corrupt government officials and employees.
In the war on drugs, the mere mention of “Oplan Tukhang” frightens drug pushers and even drug addicts. This kind of reaction is not yet felt in the drive against graft and corruption. In fact, the reports indicate that the corrupt personnel have not changed their ways as evidenced by the fact that they continue unabatedly their nefarious activities.
Take the case of the 44 personnel of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as an example.
A GMA News report stated that the 44 LTFRB personnel were either sacked or forced to resign in connection with their alleged involvement in corruption.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade was furious upon learning that several personnel of his agency (Department of Transportation and Communications) are involved in corruption, the same GMA report stated.
Delgra was quoted as saying, “Sobrang galit ni Secretary Tugade. Di ko na sasabihin dito pero iba rin magmura yung si Secretary, parang si Presidente rin pag nakarinig ng korupsyon, tumataginting yung tenga niya.”
The 44 sacked employees included National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Director Rodolfo Jaucian and four of his staff. They were relieved for allegedly continuing to grant franchises despite an LTFRB moratorium issued in 2003.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said a concerned citizen told her he was being charged P280,000 pesos for his franchise to be processed.
A subsequent investigation found out that the LTFRB NCR office has two databases — one a ghost database of expired franchises.
Kept in the ghost database are records of franchises which were expired or have not been active. “Dun yung nilalaro nila if you are an operator interested to get a franchise, for a fee they will give you one but sila lang may hawak ng data na yun,” Lizada said.
She also said the operations of the LTFRB have been compromised as a result of the actions of Jaucian and 40 other personnel of the agency.
LTFRB is currently looking into its database to identify which franchises are illegal. “Iniisa-isa naming ina-out ang data kasi medyo, not medyo, it (database) is really compromised,” Lizada said.
Jaucian was sacked, and three of his staff were assigned to Mindanao while one was issued a show-cause order.
It is likely that Jaucian and his four staff will face charges of multiple and administrative cases, including graft, violation of the code of ethical standards, grave misconduct and abuse of authority.
One legitimate franchise operator has been wandering why many new taxicabs are on the street despite the fact that there is a moratorium in NCR on the issuance of new taxicab franchises.
The taxicabs covered by questionable franchises are not only competing unfairly with taxicabs with legitimate franchises but have also contributed to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. The moratorium was issued to address the problem of too many taxicabs as well as the daily traffic congestion.
We now understand the fury of Secretary Tugade over this case. And we admire him for his outrage against corrupt personnel of agencies under the DOTC.
We expect Tugade to apply the full force of the law on Jaucian and the 43 other personnel involved in the LTFRB mess. Aside from putting them behind bars, the properties they acquired with their loot should also be confiscated in favor of the government.
Hopefully, such extreme actions would discourage other unscrupulous government personnel from continuing their corrupt ways.