Senate panel to call for separate probe into ‘anomalies’ in car inspection privatization

Published February 14, 2021, 9:30 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate public service committee will be asking the Blue Ribbon Committee to step in the alleged violations and anomalies in the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) move to privatize the inspection of motor vehicles.

Senator Grace Poe (Office of Sen. Grace Poe / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Grace Poe disclosed this Saturday, February 13, as she said that the Senate public services panel is already working on it report on the issues with the government’s motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS), particularly, the operations of private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs).

She said the committee report will be submitted for plenary action within the coming week. 

“Yong magiging recommendation namin, syempre, unang-una, kung meron ba talagang batayan na legal ang privatization ng mga MVIS, kaya ito ba ay naaayon under the Clean Air Act. So kailangan ‘yan ay pag-aralang mabuti ng Kongreso at ayusin ang batas, at linawin ang batas para dito (Our first recommendation will be, first of all, is to determined whether or not there is really a legal basis  for th privatization of the MVIS, if this is really provided under the Clean Air Act. Congress has to study that carefully to amend and clarify laws),” Poe said in an interview with radio DWIZ.

“Magrerekomenda din po kami na ang Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, dapat imbestigahan ang mga transaksyon na kaduda-duda dito sa mga PMVICs. Kasi sino-sino ba sila? At para ito payagan ng walang bidding, ito ay ma-anomalya, doon pa lamang (We will also be recommending that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigate the suspicious transactions with the PMVICs. Because who are they? And for authorities to allow their operations without any public bidding, is already anomalous in the first place),” she added.

According to Poe, senators found violations on the part of the the DOTr and its attached agency, the Land Transportation Office (LTO), for delegating their mandate of checking the road-worthiness of motor vehicles to private entities without an authority of a law.

They also questioned the selection of the PMVICs without public bidding.
Poe said that she has received reports “about the people who are behind this” move, although she said she has yet to gather evidence on such claims. She said the LTO has yet to submit a detailed report about the owners and incorporators of the PMVICs.

“Sabihin na natin na maayos naman itong mga taong ito, eh bakit hindi niyo dinaan sa tamang bidding? Hindi pa rin legal ang pagpili sa kanila (Let’s say these people have untainted track record, but why didn’t you go through the proper process? The way they are selected is still not legal),” she said.

“Para mabuo ang ating konklusyon ukol dito, kailangan din maipagpatuloy ng Blue Ribbon Committee kung meron bang maanomalyang transaksyon dito (So we could get a solid conclusion on this, the Senate Blue Ribbon should continue the investigation if there are any anomalous transactions here),” Poe added.

Senator Richard Gordon chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
On Thursday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that President Duterte has ordered the suspension of the MVIS due to complaints about the cost of inspection fees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roque said the MVIS is “no longer mandatory” and that no new or additional fees should be charged for the registration of vehicles in the LTO.