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Saturday, February 24, 2024

LTFRB ‘whistleblower’ asks NBI to postpone probe

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Former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official Jeff Tumbado confirmed that he has received a subpoena from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), but has requested a postponement of an impending investigation.

The NBI subpoena details Tumbado’s allegations of corruption in the LTFRB that he had already recanted.

Tumbado is expected to present evidence today (Oct. 16).

In a statement on Sunday, Tumbado said he is willing to cooperate in any parallel investigations to be conducted by the NBI on other alleged corrupt practices within the LTFRB.

However, Tumbado said he was “constrained to ask for a resetting of the hearing because I have to prepare for the Congressional hearing that I will attend on Tuesday, October 17, 2023.”

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Philippine National Railways (PNR) chairperson Michael Ted Macapagal meanwhile rebuked individuals and groups for dragging the name of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista in the alleged corruption at the LTFRB.

Before he backtracked on his testimony about alleged widespread corruption, Tumbado said his former boss, suspended LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III, received bribes, which Guadiz said, also “reached” Bautista and other officials.

Bautista earlier requested the NBI to investigate the issue.

Macapagal defended Bautista, saying that the Transportation chief “has nothing to do whatsoever with LTFRB’s day-to-day operation.”

Macapagal said although the LTFRB is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the LTRFB has its own mandate and its officials “enjoy full autonomy.”

“Secretary Bautista is in total sympathy with the bus and jeepney operators,” Macapagal said. “He finds it unconscionable that anybody should be made to pay any amount in excess of what the government prescribes for a franchise.”

Macapagal also said individuals should be wary of outside forces whose main objective is to attack the DOTr chief and “remove him from office.”

“Some people are out for blood because of one thing and one thing alone: they are interested in his position,” Macapagal said.

According to Macapagal, the DOTr chief has introduced far-ranging reforms in the agency, and that does not sit well with the syndicates operating within the system.

“To preclude any appearance of corruption even at the PNR, I recently told all my friends, relatives, even acquaintances not to transact business on my behalf,” Macapagal said. “Those interested in landing a contract with the agency should go through the normal process.”

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