Consumer and commuter groups have joined forces to launch the Oust Tugade Movement—a call for the immediate removal of Secretary Arthur Tugade as head of the Department of Transportation.
According to Road Users Protection Advocates chairman Ray Junia, the alliance against Tugade’s continued stay in the DOTr, despite allegations of incompetence and conflict of interest with big companies involved in massive infrastructure projects of the government, will be launched officially on Tuesday.
“This is the product of RUPA’s efforts to come up with a solution to our traffic woes as well as to prevent corruption in the government,” he said.
“We are making a call for a clean government to protect the gains and visions of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Junia added.
He said the pro-Duterte group Kilusang Pagbabago, led by its national coordinator Bishop Nilo Tayag, have committed to join their group to support their efforts to have Tugade replaced.
“We have always suspected that the reason why the DOTr has not acted on the so-called low-lying fruits or solutions that can ease the traffic problem is to force the hand of Congress into approving its proposed emergency powers package,” Junia said.
“Once Tugade gets this special powers, the DOTr can now enter into negotiated contracts, and logic dictates that these will only benefit the former employers and friends of the present Transportation officials because they are all conflicted,” he added.
Earlier, RUPA said the resignation of Undersecretary for Rails Noel Kintanar was not enough to clean up the DOTr.
“We have likened this to a chess game where you sacrifice the rook to save the king. But it is the mastermind who must be removed. If there is anyone who should resign first, that should be Tugade. He is the most conflicted of them all,” Junia said.
Junia said both the House of Representatives and the Senate have “said in so many words that Tugade is not fit to head the DOTr.”
He said the powerful Commission on Appointments must stand by its decision not to confirm Tugade as Transportation chief although Malacañang has reappointed him.
RUPA earlier wrote the Commission on Appointments to register its opposition to Tugade’s appointment, scoring the latter for his “incredible and fantastic solutions” such as his plan to install cable cars over the length of Laguna de Bay as well as to transform the MRT Line 2 into a Bus Rapid Transit.
Two lawmakers have also pressed for the resignation of three more undersecretaries of the DOTr due to conflict of interest.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said the officials—Undersecretary for Air Operations Robert Lim, Undersecretary for Maritime Affairs Felipe Judan and Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Raoul Creencia—must resign immediately to spare the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte from accusations of corruption and irregularities.
The two joined several other lawmakers, led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who have sought the ouster of the “conflicted” transportation officials.
Kintanar, who was previously with the Ayala Corp., was instrumental in the company’s acquisition of rail projects under the previous administration. Lim was a former country manager of the International Air Transport Association while Judan was formerly executive of a shipping business with Ramon Ang’s Petron as customer.