LTFRB chief not yet off the hook
November 7, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III is not yet off the hook despite his reinstatement amid corruption allegations against him, according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.
In a radio interview, Bautista said he had requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to hasten the investigation of Guadiz.
“We are still awaiting the result of the investigation of the NBI. The result will be used as the basis of the final decision,” Bautista said.
He signed a special order reinstating Guadiz on Nov. 3.
The Office of the President cited the recantation of Jeff Tumbado, the former head executive assistant of Guadiz, as basis for his return to the LTFRB.
“Based on the order of the Office of the President. According to the paragraph, ‘in view thereof and in the absence of other witnesses against Guadiz, Tumbado being the apparent witness in the case, there is no reason to further place Guadiz under preventive suspension unless a supervening event maintaining accusation against him is put forth in this office,’ so the investigation of the NBI will push through,” Bautista noted.
Tumbado earlier alleged that his former boss was involved in multimillion-peso anomalies involving franchises and different transactions within the LTFRB.
He claimed that corruption could have reached the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Malacañang, saying that he acted as a conduit and some government officials were being paid P5 million in exchange for the approval of franchises or securing routes and special permits.
But two days later, Tumbado signed an affidavit of recantation stating that his claims were “borne out of impulse, irrational thinking, misjudgment and poor decision making.”
Transport group Manibela president Mar Valbuena on Monday questioned the reinstatement of Guadiz, saying he has yet to be cleared by the NBI and House of Representatives as the investigations on the corruption charges against him are ongoing.
“The investigations are still ongoing. What will Malacañang do once it is determined that there is a basis to file charges against him? Will he be suspended or removed from his post as we have yet to hear from them,” Valbuena told The STAR.
“Is this the kind of justice we have, just because there was recantation from the whistle-blower, an official will be reinstated? This will serve as bad precedent,” Valbuena noted, adding that the recantation of Tumbado should not be used as a basis to clear Guadiz.
“The special order did not mention that Guadiz is innocent of the corruption charges against him. It was only mentioned that he will return to his post and the officer-in-charge will go back to his (old) position as member of the board,” Valbuena added.
“We did not hear an explanation from Malacañang. What we only heard was the recantation. It does not mean that Chairman Guadiz is innocent,” he said.
Guadiz on Monday vowed to uphold the “highest standards of integrity, transparency and efficiency” after his reinstatement amid allegations of corruption in the LTFRB. “I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his decision to reinstate me as the chairperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board,” Guadiz said.
Guadiz has been reinstated barely a month after he was suspended by the President due to corruption allegations that were later withdrawn.
“I pledge to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and efficiency in leading the LTFRB. We will work tirelessly to address the pressing issues and challenges in the transportation sector, striving to improve the lives of the Filipino people by providing safe, reliable and accessible public transportation services,” he added.