By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Office has cleared accusations of corruption on their move to revive the contract on motor vehicle plates between the Aquino administration and Power Plates Development Concepts Inc. and J. Knieriem BV Power Plates under license plate standardization program.
“The only concern of the DOTr-LTO now is to distribute the plates to the millions of Filipino motorists, following the decisions of the SC (Supreme Court) and the COA (Commission on Audit). This is not a case of accommodation or corruption, just public service,” a joint statement issued by DOTr and LTO reads.
This was the response of the transportation agency after Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. slammed their plans to reconsider the license plate contract adding that it “reeked of unpardonable graft.”
Teves, a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, also advised transport officials not to resurrect the “controversial” P3.6 billion license plate contract.
The lawmaker cited a COA report that noted there were irregularities in the allocation of the agency’s budget for the deal and several contract violations.
In a 2014 annual audit report, COA issued a notice of disallowance that rejected the P487.9 million advance payment received by PPI-JKG from the LTO.
However, the DOTr and LTO defended their decision and said that there is “no legal basis to cancel the contract.”
The department reminded that in January 2018, the SC lifted its Temporary Restraining Order and dismissed the petition questioning the constitutionality of the procurement.
Meanwhile, the COA lifted its Notice of Disallowance on the advance payment for the deal last July, effectively clearing the contract of irregularities, the DOTr and LTO stated.
The transportation department added that it is their duty to honor the contract regardless of which administration started it.
“The insinuation that reviving the deal ‘reeks of unpardonable graft’ is prejudiced and unfair. Questions about the deal should be taken up with the Supreme Court and the COA,” the statement further reads.