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ILOILO City – Let the chips fall where they may.
Chairman Winston Garcia of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered an investigation on the alleged anomalies at its regional office in Western Visayas.
According to Regional Director Romulo Bernardes, he himself asked Garcia to conduct the probe to once and for all clarify the issues raised against him.
Next week, a team of investigators from the LTFRB central office is coming over, Bernardes revealed.
Two transport leaders charged Bernardes with corruption and extortion.
The regional director denied this and accused the two – Raymundo Parcon and Rizalito Alido of the Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association or ICLAJODA – of being puppets of the LTFRB hearing officer whom he said has ambitions of becoming regional director.
Bernardes’ asking Garcia to investigate the allegations of Parcon and Alido is just one of the steps he has taken to get to the bottom of the scandal rocking the regional office.
He has also filed charges against his subordinate, LTFRB hearing officer Atty. Rommel Duron and asked the National Bureau of Investigation to dig deeper.
Bernardes said there appears to be a demolition job against him, starting with a bribery attempt on him on June 27.
He repudiated the alleged briber, known LTFRB fixer Ramon Rubino, and seized the P20,000 bribe money.
The central office’s probe team is also expected to investigate this incident.
The bribe money has disappeared, prompting Bernardes to charge Duron – whom he initially tasked to investigate Rubino but refused – with qualified theft and infidelity in the custody of evidence.
Duron, however, has denied having kept the money.
While the LTFRB central office gets ready to start the investigation, another transport group has come out to discredit Parcon and Alido.
According to Benny Espinosa, president of the Iloilo City Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (ICAJODA), the two were once officers of their group but were unceremoniously kicked out for alleged irregularities.
He said 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.
Espinosa said ICAJODA supports Bernardes./PN