Tugade suspends 2 officials over corruption allegations

Aika Rey

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Tugade suspends 2 officials over corruption allegations

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rapple

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade issues a 90-day suspension order against Cordillera Administrative Region Director Jesus Eduardo Natividad and Assistant Regional Director Datu Mohammad Abbas

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has suspended two top regional officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) over corruption allegations.

In a statement on Tuesday, May 22, the DOTr said  Tugade issued a 90-day suspension order against DOTr-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Director Jesus Eduardo Natividad and Assistant Regional Director Datu Mohammad Abbas.

DOTr also filed charges against the two officials.

The DOTr said that based on reports it received, Natividad allegedly demanded and accepted money in exchange for favorable decisions in relation to the issuance of Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC) for franchise applications.

The department said it was also investigating the regional director for allegedly requiring district heads to remit collections from gambling.

The DOTr also said that Natividad failed to conduct operations against vehicles that ply routes without franchise, apart from his frequent absences.

Meanwhile, Abbas allegedly extorted money for the release of impounded vehicles. A complaint was also filed against the assistant regional director by a certain Regina Migano for gun brandishing and toting.

Natividad and Abbas were given 72 hours to respond to the accusations. The DOTr said that the allegations, if found true, would merit dismissal from service.

The DOTr will assign an officer-in-charge while the officials observe the suspension order.

Tugade warned “will not think twice” about firing erring officials and employees.

“Hahaba at hahaba ang listahan ng mga masisibak sa departamentong ito hangga’t hindi niyo itinitigil ang mga iligal na aktibidad (The list of sacked officials will grow longer in this department as long as you don’t stop the illegal activities),” Tugade said in a statement.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte fired Railways Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino for allegedly making deals with one of the President’s sisters.

Tolentino had earlier accused “higher-ups” in the transportation department for delaying the Mindanao Railway project. The DOTr refuted the allegations as “false and uninformed.”– Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.