'Unacceptable': LTO official demands apology over ARTA's 'false report'

Published June 22, 2021, 5:25 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

An official of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Licensing Center in Quezon City (QCLC) has demanded an apology from the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) for its “false accusations” against their operations.


“It is not only our office that you have wronged but our organization in general,” QCLC Mercynita B. Paras said in her letter addressed to ARTA Undersecretary Carlos Quita.

Paras’ call stemmed from a report released by ARTA last week regarding its entrapment operation against a fixer offering illegal services at the LTO Headquarters in Quezon City.

ARTA’s report stated that Quita posed as a broker when he went to the LTO to renew his license when a fixer approached him and offered his services.

“[Quita] said they breezed through the medical examination. Even more surprising, his overpriced license was made inside the LTO Headquarters,” the report added.

However, Paras said that Quita made his transactions through the usual renewal procedure as shown in the footage of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the office.

Moreover, Paras said the CCTV footage also showed that it was Quita’s companion who paid the license fee “at no extra cost” based on the official receipt issued to him.

“There was no instance that our employees talked to you or to any of your companions other than when your application was evaluated, your payment for license collected at the cashier, and your photo and biometrics were taken prior to the printing and release of your license,” the LTO official explained.

With regards to Quita’s statement that they “breezed through the examination,” Paras clarified that a medical certificate is one of the requirements for the renewal of the license but the CEB Medical Services that issued his certificate is a private company and the LTO would not know how they conduct their business.

Paras also emphasized that the license issued to Quita was authentic, and the transaction deemed legitimate with no irregularities committed.

“I am willing to work with your office to ensure that our process is free of corruption, but for fabricating a controversy that we have issued you a fake license is unacceptable,” Paras added.

Meanwhile, LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar C. Galvante also denied reports that fake driver’s licenses are being printed inside the office, saying it would be difficult for fixers to copy the numerous security features of a legitimate license.

Galvante earlier asked ARTA to lend them the subject driver’s license from their operation last week so they may launch their own investigation.

The LTO chief also reiterated his call to the public to refrain from patronizing fixers and fake driver’s licenses, which have been proliferating online due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are appealing to the public time and again not to patronize fixers because engaging [in] their services will only result to paying more than the real amount of the driver’s license,” Galvante said.