As oil firms implemented on Tuesday, Jan. 18 a big time price hike, the chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts called on all mayors to show no mercy to gasoline stations that operate with defective fuel pumps to defraud motorists.
Probinsyano Ako Partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr. said local government units (LGU) have the responsibility to make sure that their constituents are not shortchanged whenever they purchase fuel for their vehicles.
“Gasoline stations that use tampered pumps to defraud motorists should be shut down and their business permits and mayor’s license swiftly revoked,” said Singson.
“Show no mercy. File criminal charges against those found violating the law,” Singson stressed.
A member of the Lower House minority, Singson said a memorandum issued in 2004 by the Department of Interior and Local Government authorizes LGU’s to conduct regular inspection of gasoline stations operating within their area of jurisdiction.
Issued then by the now deceased DILG Secretary Angelo Reyes, the 2004 directive enjoins LGUs to “guarantee that all gasoline stations within their area of jurisdiction” are visited to make sure that they do not sell fuel using defective gasoline pumps.
The same order, Singson revealed, also calls on the concerned LGUs to determine compliance of the gasoline stations to the provisions for fair business practices under current laws protecting consumers.
Mayors are asked to “institute/cause the institution of appropriate charges against those erring establishments and/or suspend or revoke the licenses or permits” the LGU issued for the business operation of the station.
“Gasoline operators who shortchange their customers who are already facing a double whammy of adverse economic effects of COVID-19 and soaring fuel prices are the worst of people. They should be kicked out of business and jailed,” Singson stated.
Local executives are also asked to coordinate with the Department of Energy in the conduct inspection.
He recalled that the DILG in 2004 released the memorandum circular to all mayors after numerous gasoline stations have been found shortchanging motorists with tampered with or defective pumps.