Land Transportation Office

LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II ordered to comment on corruption allegations

Lance Spencer Yu

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LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II ordered to comment on corruption allegations

HEAD. LTO chief Vigor Mendoza stands at a podium.

Land Transportation Office Facebook Page

The allegations stem from Mendoza's supposed failure to lead LTO's full transition to the new LTMS system, leading to motorists still having to pay for computer fees when transacting with the agency

MANILA, Philippines – Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Vigor Mendoza II, already the fourth head of the LTO under the Marcos administration, must now answer “serious accusations” of corruption hurled against him.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista has ordered Mendoza to “immediately submit his explanation and comments” on allegations raised against him in open letters by the Coalition for Good Governance and several transportation groups.

“The allegations about LTO Asec. Vigor Mendoza – (i) betrayal of public trust, (ii) grave abuse of authority, (iii) loss of trust and confidence, (iv) acts prejudicial to the public, (v) reputational risk against the Philippine government and (vi) corruption, among others – are all serious accusations that demand in-depth investigations and equally serious affirmative action,” Bautista said in a statement on Tuesday, February 6.

The transportation secretary said that the LTO chief’s comment on the allegations will be used “for our proper disposition and appropriate recommendation to the President, if necessary.”

An open letter signed by several groups – including the Federated Land Transport Organization of the Philippines (FELTOP) – urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to remove Mendoza for failing to fully transition to the agency’s new IT system, the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS). The groups alleged that this led to motorists continuing to pay the P169 computer for transactions done through LTO’s previous IT system.

Another open letter by the Coalition for Good Governance also called for the President to remove Mendoza. It mentioned the two cases filed by FELTOP against Mendoza through the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as the issue of the computer fees.

Both open letters came out as paid advertisements in national newspapers.

Mendoza responds

The LTO chief was quick to deny the allegations.

“All the allegations that were raised in the paid advertisements are false and are plain and simple desperate effort to mislead and misinform the public for whatever reasons or personal agenda that they have,” Mendoza said in a separate statement issued just an hour after Bautista’s statement came out.

According to Mendoza, 97% of all vehicle transactions are now processed through the LTMS, adding that “the LTO is now 100% in driver’s license transactions.”

A source from the LTO confirmed to Rappler that the agency still hasn’t migrated some processes from the LTO’s old IT system provided by Stradcom to the LTMS provided by Dermalog. Mendoza also authorized LTO district and extension offices to continue using Stradcom’s system, whose use comes with the controversial P169 computer fee per transaction.

Issues have long plagued the P3.14-billion LTMS project, which was first awarded to Dermalog and its local partners in 2018. The Commission on Audit has repeatedly flagged it for the sluggish implementation, recommending that the LTO “utilize and closely monitor the [LTMS], and ensure the completion of all the necessary functions/processes of the seven core applications based on its timeline to avoid any further delays, and the additional computer IT fees being paid by the general public in using the old IT system.”

The LTO as a whole has also faced turbulent times. Since the Marcos administration began in 2022, four different officials have already sat at the head of the agency. The high turnover and messy transitions has already contributed to the driver’s license shortage that the agency now grapples with.

With Mendoza now being probed, could the LTO soon see a fifth new leader? – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.