After my expose on this column on January 4, 2009 , on the existence of two versions of LTFRB Franchise to operate Biñan – Lawton via Expressway and vice versa route with the same case number 88-2195 I thought that the controversy would be soon over and will arrive at final resolution based on the face value of two documents.
True enough, the BTFRB of the Municipality of Biñan to which the alleged tampered version was submitted, in order to rectify things out wrote a letter to Sangguniang Bayan (SB) presiding officer Vice Mayor Walfredo Dimaguila with a recommendation that the Permit to Operate issued to JAC Liner earlier be revoked or cancelled for obvious reason that the documents (Case No. 88-2195) in their possession was quite different from the certified true copy from LTFRB.
True enough again, SB’s Committee on Transportation and Communication Chair Hon. Councilor JM Carait, on January 9 wrote JAC Liner to submit supporting documents within 15 days from receipt of the letter to justify said bus liner’s operation in Biñan. Verbally VM Demaguila and some honorable councilors said no franchise documents, no permit to operate for JAC Liner.
Quite true enough, the documents in possession of BTFRB is tampered when on January 23, 2009, JAC Liner presented to SB a franchise with LTFRB case number 88-2195 now in the name of Carlos Bautista and nowhere on said documents appear JAC Liner as originally submitted.
To give more weights to their argument JAC Liner also presented to SB a deed of absolute sale for 26 Units from the fleet of Laguna Express, Inc. including its franchise for only P5.2 Million. Same was filed allegedly with corresponding application to LTFRB. But nowhere will you see Laguna Express Inc. buses in Biñan yet JAC Liner continues to operate despite application pa lang ang naipa-file.
This twist of events lauded on the pages of Taliba, Police Files Tonight, Hataw on their February 6, 2009 issue and Manila Bulletin some days before.
But here’s the rub as the committee said that, “after CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE DOCUMENTS, EXHAUSTIVE DELIBERATIONS based on allegations and facts, the committee UNANIMOUSLY arrived on the following recommendations…, yet somewhere on its decision says that COMMITTEE ADMITTEDLY DID NOT LOOK into the INTRINSIC VALIDITY of the FRANCHISE in order to DETERMINE its AUTHENTICITY. (Eh, bakit pa po kayo nag-imbistiga?)
While a private party is clearly beyond doubt guilty of falsification of public documents it is sad to note that some of the honorable councilors of Biñan is equally liable for not scrutinizing the controversy for the real truth to come out. Some maybe are in cahoots for the commission of the offense. Those who erred must answer because the safety of Biñan commuters are at stake for there’s no safeguard whatsoever awaiting a passenger from “COLORUM” operator.
For this reason I’m referring this column to our friend at Public Assistance Bureau (PAB) of the Ombudsman who has proven many times as supportive as ever to Media’s investigative reporting. They investigate cases such as this against public officials even without formal complaint to determine the liabilities of said erring officials, through the concept that as media can only do little and PAB doing so much, together, the truth will always come out. (NANI CORTEZ/Tanglaw/Southern Tagalog Herald)