LTFRB

Malacañang reinstates Teofilo Guadiz as LTFRB head after weathering corruption allegations

Lance Spencer Yu

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Malacañang reinstates Teofilo Guadiz as LTFRB head after weathering corruption allegations

BACK. In this file photo, LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz attends the Senate hearing on the planned June 30 phase-out of traditional jeepneys on March 2, 2023.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

(2nd UPDATE) The Malacañang order that reinstates Teofilo Guadiz mentions he was cleared after former LTFRB executive Jefferson Tumbado recanted his allegations of corruption

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the President has brought back Teofilo Guadiz III to his post as chairperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) less than a month after being suspended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for “alleged corruption under his leadership.”

The decision to reinstate Guadiz comes directly from a Malacañang order signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin by the authority of the President. The copy of the order seen by Rappler mentions that Guadiz was cleared after former LTFRB executive Jefferson Tumbado recanted his allegations of corruption. These were the very accusations that put the LTFRB chief in hot water in the first place.

“In the absence of other witnesses against Teofilo Guadiz III, Jefferson Gallos Tumbado being the apparent sole witness in this case, there stands no reason to place Teofilo Guadiz III under further preventive suspension, unless a supervening event maintaining the same accusations against him is put forth before this Office,” the order said.

The Palace confirmed the order in a statement.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista also confirmed to Rappler that Guadiz will be reinstated in compliance with the order from the President. 

“The Office of the President has lifted the 90-day suspension with the recantation by Tumbado,” Bautista told Rappler early Sunday morning, November 5.

Guadiz will be reinstated as head of the agency starting Monday, November 6, “in the exigency and best interest of service,” according to a separate DOTr special order seen by Rappler and dated Friday, November 3. 

Mercy Leynes will continue to serve as the officer-in-charge chairperson until Monday.

Photos of the special order that detailed his reinstatement began circulating among transportation groups on Saturday, November 4. The special order did not mention the corruption allegations nor the findings of any investigation into the issue. 

Marcos suspended Guadiz on October 9 after former LTFRB executive Jeff Tumbado publicly accused him of participating in a “lagayan scheme” that saw bribes of up to P5 million allegedly pass through his office in exchange for the speedy approval of special permits, franchises, and modifications of routes. 

Tumbado further alleged that the bribes made their way to the DOTr and even the Office of the President, an accusation that the transportation secretary has fiercely denied.

Following the accusations, the DOTr also issued a Notice to Explain against Guadiz that ordered him to comment on the alleged “irregular activities” and show cause why he should not be charged with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. 

The same document also included screenshots of an alleged text message from Guadiz saying, “Ayos!!! Dinner tayo this week. Usap tayo negosyo” after a “client” offered him grease money. (Nice! Let’s have dinner this week. Let’s talk business.)

Just days after baring the supposed corruption scheme, Tumbado recanted his allegations, calling it a case of “irrational thinking” and “poor decision-making.” Tumbado later admitted during a House investigation that he had no concrete evidence to back up his claims, leading lawmakers to cite him in contempt. – 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.