01 March 2011

MO in the Subic Car Registration Revealed

Car Interior
Many suspected the irregularities in the processing of registration for imported cars in Land Transportation Office (LTO), but not enough evidence was presented. The suspicion started when imported cars from the Subic Freeport Zone were uncontrollably sold to buyers in other towns, but investigations always ended up in some remote desk somewhere.

This is the case until 30 October 2007 when the Supreme Court stop the transactions and an audit team was sent to investigate the allegations.

The audit team report showed that a paper trail that began in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat, and ended in Capas, Tarlac. A trail covered by several questionable acts involving 26 government officials, including LTO chief Virginia Torres.

According to the audit team that investigated randomly selected transactions, the process went this way:

The vehicles were first registered in the LTO-Kalamansig (Sultan Kudarat) extension office through a manual process. Then the transactions were forwarded to the LTO-Polomolok extension office (South Cotabato) and underwent an automated process when the vehicles’ weight information was revised and the revisions were entered into the computerized database.

Once the revised vehicle information was entered into the LTO computer network, the transfer of ownership was made at the LTO-Capas extension office from which new license plates were issued.

The new certificates of registration for at least 55 vehicles were "accepted and processed without primary documentary requirements," particularly a clearance from the then Traffic Management Group (TMG, now the Highway Patrol Group), the audit showed.

Moreover, 20 transactions have an attached TMG clearance, but these clearances were issued after the date of [motor vehicle transaction], which is a clear violation of LTO's Memorandum Circular No. 89-093.

Can we expect heads will roll and appropriate charges filed soon? That is the question that President Benigno Aquino III may have to answer personally since it was reported in some papers that he and Torres are close acquaintances.