MANILA, Philippines – The staff of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Board Member Aileen Lizada, after the latter filed charges against them.
Delgra’s Chief of Staff Manolo Labor, as well as staff members Nikki Rose Gener and Martin Angelo Afante, filed the 25-page joint complaint-affidavit on September 27, in relation to the P2 fare hike in Iloilo that was approved without Lizada’s signature.
The 3 accused Lizada of abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and oppression. They asked the Ombudsman for her immediate suspension from the LTFRB.
The complainants argue that they were merely following the instructions of Labor to expedite the routing of signatures for the Iloilo fare hike order.
Gener said she obtained the copy of the order from Lizada’s staff, without her knowledge.
“Definitely, upon hearing that I need to get a copy upon instruction of the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Ombudsman, Kurt [Mabunga] immediately complied and even helped me remove the staple wire that binds the several copies of the order,” Gener said in the complaint.
Labor, in turn, said he was only acting on Delgra’s order to urgently finalize the fare hike decision.
In their complaint, Delgra’s staff said that they were berated by Lizada with expletives during the confrontaion on July 30. They said that Afante’s iPhone 6 was damaged when Lizada “slammed the phone” while using it to call Labor.
Lizada has earlier filed a complaint against the 3 for the July 30 confrontation.
The order on the fare hike was supposed to be an en banc decision or signed by all 3 members of the regulatory board.
Lizada was asking to revise a part of the fare hike order, saying that it was “inaccurate.”
The approved order included a logic behind the increase citing a DTI “pronouncement,” saying that higher fuel prices “has very minimal impact on the prices of basic goods” and that “transportation only accounts for less than 5% of the production costs.”
However, Lizada said Department of Trade and Industry confirmed there were no formal pronouncements on the matter, and that it was inaccurate. DTI, in a letter, recommended instead a “lower or minimal fare adjustment” for jeepneys in Iloilo. – Rappler.com