By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Vigor Mendoza should be lauded for taking the initiative to crack down on colorum public utility vehicles (PUVs). If you didn’t know, LTO regional offices have turned aggressive in their efforts, even deploying “mystery drivers” to unmask corrupt officers who live off extortion to protect rogue PUVs.
Six LTO men have already got the boot.
Colorum vehicles, those unregistered PUVs that put passengers at risk, have long been a menace on the streets. Transport groups facing financial losses due to these unauthorized vehicles are understandably frustrated, especially in Metro Manila. Some legit operators claim as much as 30 percent of their income goes to colorum PUVs.
The LTO’s regulatory failures have led to this mess. But for the first time in a long time, it seems Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista is right in commending Mendoza’s efforts.
Now, the LTO is passing the baton to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the finishing blow to rid the streets of dangerous PUVs. Let’s hope the PNP’s participation does not spoil the progress made. The roads need cleaning, not a new mess.
“In the exigency and best interest of service, Assistant Secretary Teofilo Guadiz III is hereby reinstated as chairperson of the LTFRB (Land Transportation, Franchising, and Regulatory Board), effective 6 November 2023.” That’s what the special order signed by Transport Secretary Bautista says, which suggests, perhaps, what flimsy decisions the President put on display when he suspended the guy on the heels of corruption allegations last month.
Or, maybe the LTFRB chief is just too good to be caught?
Either way, Firing Line spies say some LTFRB insiders are happy with Guadiz’s return to glory. Ain’t that right, “Jack Pascual” and “Amie dela Cruz”? I don’t know them very well, except I’m told they would never have Guadiz hang out to dry the way his former executive secretary, Jefferson Tumbado, did.
Messing with the military
A couple of weeks ago, I told you there were generals old and current swapping whispers of a coup. Well, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Romeo Brawner might have blamed the media for misquoting him last Friday. Still, the words “destabilization efforts” did roll out from his tongue with credible eloquence.
You don’t always hear those words from the highest-ranked military general unless his smoke’s got fire.
Some political academics are of the opinion that such a divide in the military is borne out of the prodding of political forces that never get along fine. And most likely, such is the now that the solid Marcos-Duterte tandem that stormed the elections in 2022 has turned into a ruling coalition with fissures and cracks.
President Junior and VP Inday Sara still appear to be on good terms. But BBM and his predecessor and VP Sara’s father, Rodrigo Duterte, are opposites in dealing with China. Inday Sara seems sworn to shutting down BBM’s cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, politically. Or is it the other way around? But not to worry, says Brawner. He never said there was a destabilization plot.
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