Panay News

ILOILO City – The two transport leaders accusing Director Romulo Bernardes of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Region 6 of corruption and extortion themselves have skeletons in their closets, according to a group of drivers and operators.

The Iloilo City Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (ICAJODA) has broken its silence amid the escalating “war” between Bernardes, the board’s regional hearing officer Atty. Rommel Duron and transport leaders Raymundo Parcon and Rizalito Alido.

According to ICAJODA president Benny Espinosa, Parcon and Alido were once officers of their group but were unceremoniously kicked out for alleged irregularities.

They were opportunists, said Espinosa in a press conference yesterday attended by Bernardes.

“Ang ila na pinsar pirme kwarta…Kada meeting kwarta pirme gina istoryahan (They think of nothing but money. During meetings, they always talked about money),” he said.

After Parcon and Alido were ousted from ICAJODA, Espinosa said, the two formed their own transport association – the Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association or ICLAJODA.

They simply added the word “Loop” to ICAJODA to mislead the public, said Espinosa.

Parcon now serves as president of ICLAJODA while Alido is the secretary.

According to Espinosa, Parcon and Alido were forced to leave ICAJODA September last year on the following grounds:

* falsification of documents of the association

* making intrigues against the association, and

* gathering new members to gain a majority in ICAJODA for the purpose of discrediting and dislodging the association president.

During their stint at ICAJODA, Parcon served as vice president while Alido as secretary.

If Espinosa were to be believed, Alido entered into several transactions in the name of ICAJODA without the consent of the association president.

He cited one case – ICAJODA solicited money for a souvenir program amounting to around P70,000. Espinosa said the money was entrusted to Alido but the then secretary of ICAJODA allegedly failed to turn them over to the association.

Espinosa said ICAJODA has decided to speak out against Alido and Parcon to warn the public.

“Makonsensya kami kun mag hipos kami…Naghalin sila sa amon asosasyon. Nahibal-an namon tanan nga modus operandi nila (Our conscience would bother us if we keep silent. They were once members of our association. We knew their method of operation),” Espinosa said.

ICAJODA also expressed support to Bernardes.

On Monday, Parcon and Alido alleged that Bernardes was demanding P5,000 from each Mandurriao-Hibao-an public utility jeepney (PUJ) so their petition for an extension of route would be approved.

They also claimed Bernardes was asking P70,000 and between P25,000 to P40,000 from those applying for new taxi and passenger jeepney franchises, respectively.

Bernardes denied the allegations. He also believed Alido and Parcon were being manipulated by Duron whom he said wanted to be the LTFRB Region 6 director.

A week before Parcon and Alido dropped their bombshell on Bernardes, Duron had a tense verbal tiff with Bernardes at the regional office over the schedule of hearings for franchise applications.

Bernardes said Alido and Parcon have been seen soliciting support from local officials for Duron’s bid to become regional director.

Meanwhile, Bernardes said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started digging deeper into the alleged bribery incident in June 27 at the regional office, and the disappearance of the bribe money.

Bernardes is holding Duron responsible for the disappearance of the money offered to him (Bernardes) to expedite a franchise application.

The director said he rebuffed the briber, forwarded the money to Duron and ordered the hearing officer to conduct an investigation on the matter.

Duron, however, refused. But curiously, said Bernardes, Duron did not return to him the bribe money.

Bernardes expressed confidence that the investigation will result to the filing of appropriate charges against concerned individuals./PN


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