Criminal raps filed against ex-DOTC chief Abaya, 7 others

MANILA — Watchdog, Citizens Crime Watch (CCW), have filed criminal charges against former Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and seven others for their alleged involvement in the anomalous Php 3.8-billion license plate deal.

Along with their legal representative, former Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) general manager Al Vitangcol III, the CCW filed the complaint Tuesday at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for violating Sections 3 (b) and (e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Section 7 (a) and (d) RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).

Aside from Abaya, those named in the complaint are Transportation Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin; Land Transportation Office (LTO) Alfonso Tan Jr.; and former DOTC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco, Julianito Bucayan Jr., Catherine Jennifer Gonzales.

The complainant noted that in 2013, the LTO embarked on a Php 3.8-billion Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVLPSP).

The project was awarded to Power Plates Development Concepts Inc. and J. Knieriem BV-Power Plates (PPI-JKG Joint Venture).

However, the complainant said that “post qualification of the winning bidder was not done, contrary to the recommendations of the DOTC-BAC Technical Working Group (TWG).”

“Had the BAC allowed the post qualification, DOTC could have established that PPI-JKG Joint Venture does not have the financial capability to manufacture the license plates under the MVLPSP Project,” it explained.

Due to this, many vehicle owners who gave their payments “have not been issued the corresponding plates” and the non-availiability of the motor plates “resulted in the myriad of problems–carnapping, violation of traffic laws–among others.”

The complainant cited that the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed the project in July 2015 on the ground that the same was awarded without the required allotment in the 2014 General Appropriations Act. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/